<![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[Everything That Happened During The US Presidents' First 100 Days]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/us-president-first-100-days/stephanroget

Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the gold standard on the first three-ish months of his presidency, Americans have looked to this arbitrary standard as an indicator of their leader's potential success. But what have all the presidents since FDR done during those 100 days, and how does history view them looking back now?

Results are, unsurprisingly, mixed. Some, like John F. Kennedy were able to ride their magnetic personalities straight from campaign trail to office, though that didn't always mean all-around success: the Bay of Pigs was during the 100 day period. Others inherited a war and had to make tough decisions, resulting in criticisms of a disregard for domestic affairs. Regan faced an attempt on his life during those first months in office, which actually ended up serving as a boost to his ability to pass legislation.

Why are the first 100 days important? Not everyone agrees that they are, but it's a benchmark that gets people talking and prompts scrutiny of the sitting US president from both the media and the American public.

This list features only US presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the first administration to consider the first 100 days.


Everything That Happened During The US Presidents' First 100 Days, politics & history, us presidents, america, Government, us history, politics,

Barack Obama

Highs: Obama enjoyed a 65% approval rating after his first 100 days, higher than his three predecessors. He introduced his economic stimulus package, and it was quickly passed in both the House and Senate. Obama also expanded on children’s health care, and bolstered equal-pay with the Lilly Ledbetter Act. He supported science by lifting the ban on stem-cell research, and aimed to improve political ethics by introducing new guidelines for lobbyists.

Lows: Obama inherited a receding economy, and he had to deal with the repercussions immediately after taking office. Perhaps distracted by the economy, Obama was only able to pass 11 laws during his first 100 days. On a more personal level, his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, was forced to withdraw when his severe tax evading ways were discovered. Obama attempted, but failed, to close Guantanamo with an executive order.

Historical Consensus: Obama’s first 100 days were competent if unspectacular. The effectiveness of the stimulus package is debateable, but most agree that it did help lower unemployment. Several of his rights-related moves are here to stay.


Bill Clinton

Highs: Clinton was an incredibly active president in his first 100 days, passing the fourth-most laws of all time, with 24. Many of Clinton’s moves were concerned with human and personal rights, such as the walking back of restrictions on abortion or the opening up of the military to gays and lesbians. His Family and Medical Leave Act also helped improve the lives of countless individuals.

Lows: Clinton made headlines by putting his wife, Hillary Clinton, in control of a massive health care overhaul, which would ultimately fail. His stimulus package was killed by a Republican filibuster, and he faced a smaller controversy over the firing of some White House staffers.

Historical Consensus: Clinton was a controversial president in his first 100 days, although all of that would be later overshadowed by his infamous sex scandal. Clinton had a 37% disapproval rating, the highest of any president before Trump.


George H. W. Bush

Highs: The senior Bush started out well with his bailout plan for savings and loans, which was widely praised. He proposed debt forgiveness for developing countries, an important humanitarian decision, and he reversed a bit of Reagan’s policy by cutting defense spending. Bush also quickly addressed some environmental issues, concerning acid rain and smog.

Lows: Bush had his Defense Secretary pick rejected by the Senate in an early defeat. He was criticized for a general lack of direction, but his actions might best be described as housekeeping. Bush was denounced by the NRA, which had previously endorsed him, after a slight bit of regulation. He was also criticized for a slow response to the Exxon-Valdez crisis.

Historical Consensus: Bush had some big shoes to fill in following Ronald Reagan and his first 100 days, and he didn’t really come close. However, Bush had a safe and perfectly competent run of his own.


George W. Bush

Highs: Bush enjoyed a 62% approval rating, higher than Bill Clinton’s or his own father’s. He quickly slashed income tax to a great degree, fulfilling a campaign promise. Bush proposed the eventually-controversial No Child Left Behind educational policy, and he opened up for more government funding of faith-based organizations.

Lows: George W. Bush was quite inactive in his first 100 days, only passing seven laws and using few executive orders. Far more devastating than his inactivity was his ignorance, as Bush mostly ignored a blue-ribbon commission on homeland security, which suggested that a terrorist attack may be imminent. Of course, the attacks of September 11th, 2001, were to follow.

Historical Consensus: The impact of 9/11 is undeniable, although to blame Bush or his first 100 days in office for the tragedy would not be fair. What would be fair is suggesting that Bush displayed a habit of ignoring military intelligence early in his presidency that would eventually lead the country into the Iraq War.


Gerald Ford

Highs: Ford tackled the economy immediately, hosting an Economic Summit and introducing a 31-point program to fix the present issues. He also sought to cut national spending and foreign dependency by instituting gasoline management and pouring money into mass transit. Ford’s Housing and Community Development Act helped the housing market, and away from home he made serious attempts to improve foreign relations.

Lows: Ford’s first 100 days are most notable for his pardoning of Richard Nixon, a move that caused many to immediately write him off as a president. The loss of trust that many Americans experienced in this moment would never be regained, and especially not for Ford.

Historical Consensus: One moment really can define a president’s first 100 days, and his decision to allow Nixon to escape justice soured his entire presidency for countless citizens.


Jimmy Carter

Highs: On his very first day in office, Carter provided amnesty for Vietnam War draft dodgers, fulfilling a campaign promise. He was relatively active with 22 laws passed and 16 executive orders, although some of these orders invited criticism. In general, Carter was praised by the media for his temperament, although the bar had been set pretty low at that point.

Lows: Carter attempted to emulate FDR and his famous fireside chats, but he bombed and was dubbed “Jimmy Cardigan” by an un-endeared populace. Carter failed in his attempts at arms control talks with the Russians. On home soil, Carter seemed to annoy just about everyone, making a surprising amount of enemies for such an agreeable fellow.

Historical Consensus: The word on Carter’s first 100 days in office is usually “overly ambitious.” Carter had some big ideas, but he failed to show a willingness to employ the actual politics necessary to make them a reality. These early days helped predict his mainly inconsequential presidency.


Lyndon B. Johnson

Highs: LBJ stepped into a difficult position, but he rose to the occasion of reassuring a grieving nation. Johnson sought to provide stability, taking little direct action but rather focusing on mending fences. He made concerted and sincere efforts at bipartisanship, which is quite unusual for a president’s early days.

Lows: In what would have been the ultimate low, LBJ was almost accidentally killed himself by a startled Secret Service agent shortly after JFK’s assassination. Although it was by design, it can’t be denied that Johnson accomplished little legislative action.

Historical Consensus: Johnson fulfilled a necessary role in the wake of a national tragedy. America needed some healing, and LBJ helped make that happen in a multitude of ways.


Richard Nixon

Highs: Nixon put a lot of effort into improving European relations, but he also made time to begin motions towards a more peaceful relationship with China and the Soviets. In the midst of the Vietnam War, Nixon stepped up the training of South Vietnamese troops, which helped signal the ending of American involvement in the conflict. Nixon supported space research with the Apollo 9 mission, which paved the way for the moon landing.

Lows: Nixon only had a 62% approval rating, which represented a steep drop from the two who came before him. He escalated Vietnam involvement for the time being with Cambodian bombing campaigns. Nixon and his administration also began the wiretapping of government officials and reporters, which represented the beginnings of the All the President’s Men scenario that would ultimately cost him the presidency.

Historical Consensus: Nixon had several accomplishments during his first 100 days, especially when it came to foreign affairs. Unfortunately, on the domestic front he also began some of the shady dealings and illicit activities that would forever taint his legacy and result in his unprecedented resignation.


Ronald Reagan

Highs: Reagan’s first 100 days in office matched his personality, as he quickly and aggressively cut taxes and domestic spending. He also drastically increased military spending, giving the Cold War a kickstart. At the same time, Reagan cut regulations left, right, and center and enacted a federal hiring freeze. He enjoyed a 68% approval rating, making his the highest-rated post-Kennedy president. Most impressively, the American hostages were literally released on the day of Reagan’s inauguration.

Lows: Getting shot is the ultimate low, although from a different perspective, surviving an assassination attempt is a highlight. In an ironic twist, Reagan’s ability to move legislation was actually pretty slow until the attempt on his life, after which he found much greater success. Reagan also inherited an economy that was headed toward a recession, and didn’t adequately combat it.

Historical Consensus: Reagan’s first 100 days in office were emblematic of his presidency as a whole: brash, aggressive, and nationalistic. There were some long-term ramifications to Reagan’s actions, but his early days helped inflame a fanbase that he maintains to this day.


Donald Trump

Highs: One of Trump’s biggest wins was having Neil Gorsuch controversially confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. As promised, Trump saw that many Obama-era economic and environmental regulations were repealed. He was active with several executive orders, using the most since 1949 and more than Barack Obama, who he had previously criticized for the very same thing. Trump’s Syrian air strike is still controversial, but it’s a definitive action. The same could be said of the pushing through of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Lows: The numbers say it all, sometimes. Trump’s approval rating is historically low at 43%. His bigly hyped replacement for the Affordable Care Act was ultimately withdrawn when it was widely panned by just about everyone. His executive orders regarding the immigration of people from certain Muslim countries were blocked by federal courts, in an impressive display of the government’s checks and balances. Another order regarding the funding of sanctuary cities was also blocked. Countless other promises were just plain broken, not the least were those regarding vacation time, his personal salary and expenses, and his time on vacation. Perhaps most embarrassingly, Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign over inappropriate contact with a Russian ambassador.  Speaking of Russia, allegations and investigations regarding the Trump team’s relationship with Putin and the Kremlin absolutely dominated the headlines.

Historical Consensus: At best, Trump’s first 100 days in office could be described as incredibly divisive. At worst, and dependent on the Russia investigation, they could be viewed as outright disastrous.



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Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:07:13 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/us-president-first-100-days/stephanroget
<![CDATA[How The Insanity Of The Free Concert At Altamont Killed The Summer Of Love]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/altamont-free-concert-facts/jen-jeffers

Lambasted by Rolling Stone magazine as "rock and roll's all-time worst day — a day when everything went perfectly wrong," the 1969 music festival at Altamont Speedway in Northern California was a concert unlike any other. Immortalized in the 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter, Altamont was scheduled during one of the most rebellious and heady times in American history, filled with gritty guitar riffs, lots of recreational drugs, and young people looking to rebel. The free concert gave fans a chance to jam out with some of the most epic bands of the counterculture, including the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead. But when the Hells Angels showed up to work security, things took a turn for the worse. Fans expecting free love and peace were treated to brutality and general mayhem. Forever remembered for its shocking violence, destruction, and chaos, the tragic events at Altamont ended the era of free love and marked the death of the swinging '60s.


How The Insanity Of The Free Concert At Altamont Killed The Summer Of Love,

The Hells Angels Were In Charge Of Security (And Completely Wasted)

The roar of 100 motorcycles heralded the Hells Angels' arrival. Appearing over the crest of the hill, the gang maneuvered their bikes through the crowd and headed toward the stage, ready to take up positions as security for the concert. Somehow, the concert organizers thought that hiring a notoriously rowdy criminal organization was the best way to ensure things didn't get out of hand.

The Angels didn't stop to chat or smile at the curious crowd, they just made a beeline for their position, parked their motorcycles, and started drinking Red Mountain Vin Rose wine from gallon jugs. Unfortunately, they didn't know the wine was spiked with acid from Laguna Beach. Although their bikes were safely parked next to the stage, the acid soon had the biker's internal engines running full tilt, and doses of mescaline, reds, and speed were seen strewn across the stage. The more they partied, the more violent they became, and fights began to break out at regular intervals.


The Hells Angels Victimized Random Concert Goers, And Mick Jagger Was Punched In The Face

It wasn't long before things at Altamont turned ugly. The Angels turned on anyone in the crowd who was "problematic," AKA random people they didn't like. They beat one man to the ground for being naked, and pulverized another guy with his own camera for trying to take pictures of the scene. When Santana hit the stage, people were rocking out, but the Angels were not interested in the music. They kept a keen eye trained on the crowd, and immediately targeted anyone who drew their attention. They fashioned billy clubs out of sawed off pool cues, and were happy to use them on anyone they deemed unruly.

As the music swelled, people were ripped off the stage and beaten by the Angels. Sometimes three or four gang members would team up to assault one defenseless person. Even when the Stones were back at the Huntington Hotel waiting for their departure to the venue, they began to hear reports of what was happening. Feeling nervous about the concert, they discussed canceling the show, but the idea of such failure seemed to much to bear. They boarded their helicopter and arrived in the bedlam, a reality enforced when Jagger descended to the ground and was immediately punched in the face by a crazy fan. 


There Was No Seating, Water, Or Bathrooms

Fans were notified of the concert just four days before it was set to take place. The Stones did not warn the surrounding public or the police department; they just moved forward quickly and decisively. In the rush, no one paid attention to details like bathrooms, food, water, or seating. Aside from the small wooden stage erected just four feet off the ground with lights and speakers, there wasn't a whole lot else at Altamont.

Once the bands began playing, they were surrounded on all sides be a seething mass of humanity. It was actually planned this way, so that the concert would be more "intimate." 


Over 300,000 People Showed Up

The Stones were not the only band scheduled to play that infamous day at Altamont. Santana, The Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane were also planning to entertain the crowd, a number the planners estimated would be around 100,000 people. However, early the next morning it became clear they had drastically miscalculated, as the hills became packed with spectators swarming over the horizon to catch the free show. As far as the eye could see in every direction, hyped up hippies descended on the venue in droves.

There had been almost no preparation for the show, so there was no signage about where to park or how to find the location of the main stage. As a result, confused and wasted fans just abandoned their cars on the side of the road and set out on foot to find the music. By the time the first guitar lick hit the air, the barren fields were filled with over 300,000 people looking to party


It All Started When Mick Jagger Planned A Concert

Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones were hot in the '60s. They stormed the global music scene and were itching to play in the hotbed of the free love movement: California. The Stones wanted the show to be both memorable and a reminder to fans that the music and the revolution were both just beginning.

A free concert seemed like the perfect idea. But there was one problem: their manager couldn't find a location willing to host thousands of drugged out hippies, not even for one debauched night. After getting rejected from San Francisco and Sear Point raceway in California, the Stones soon stumbled upon the idea of using Altamont.

Located in the middle of nowhere, secluded and barren, the speedway promised to provide isolation and plenty of space. And for a bit, it seemed like a good idea. The evening before the concert, about 5,000 fans showed up to connect with friends, get high, and party in the abandoned cars left behind on the speedway. A hired crew quickly erected the small stage and everyone waited for the sunrise. No one, however, could have suspected what was headed their way.


The Crowd Turned On Each Other, And The Hells Angels Turned On The Stones

By the time the Stones actually got on stage, things seemed to be turning around. People were finally rocking out and the scene was running hot, but then a body sailed across the stage. Before this point, several exhausted, injured, and wasted people had been passed back through the crowd on stretchers, but this was a new level of violence. Jagger had just started singning "Under My Thumb," and decided to stop the show momentarily to ask everyone to calm down. Although he made a few light protests during previous songs, it now became clear the concert was getting extremely out of hand. 

The Angels were not happy about Jagger's reprimand, and appeared to completely ignore his pleas for peace. It was clear they had great disdain for the scrawny, flamboyant English rock star. In a tense moment, it became clear to everyone near the stage that the musicians might be providing the music, but they were absolutely not in charge


No One Took Responsibility For The Murder Of Meredith Hunter

Because Meredith Hunter was murdered in front of thousands, the Angel who killed him, Alan Passaro, was put on trial for the crime the next year. But all the damning evidence and first-hand testimony wasn't enough to convince the all-white jury of Passaro's guilt. The court did not understand the larger implications of the case and only knew there had been a dust up with some hippies out in the middle of nowhere. Consequently, Passaro was tried and acquitted on grounds of self-defense. 

Maybe Hunter's race had something to do with the decision, or maybe the jury just didn't know all the facts. Either way, Alta Mae Anderson, Hunter's mother, eventually filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the band and everyone involved, including the Hells Angels, but she never heard from the band and eventually settled for $10,000. 


A Young Black Man Was Murdered

As the Stones burst into their first song, "Sympathy For The Devil," a young black man named Meredith Hunter began moving closer to the stage. Obviously high on something, Hunter tried to jump up on the stage and join some other fans who were dancing. According to testimony and footage from the event, Hunter was pushed back violently by an Angel, which you can see in the video above.

Unhappy with this treatment, Hunter shoved back and brandished a gun at the gang member, telling him to "back off." At this point, the Angels claimed they had no choice but to stab him to death. However, there are conflicting accounts on this point, as other concert goers say Meredith did not confront the Angels, and actually tried to flee through the crowd. An Angel by the name of Alan Passaro chased him down, and stabbed Hunter in the back as he tried to escape. Hunter took out his gun in a moment of desperation, but it was too late. The Angel slapped it away and beat Hunter to the ground, kicking him repeatedly in the face with his steel-toed boots until he stopped moving. 


Meredith Hunter Died Because He Wasn't Allowed On The Stones' Helicopter

Once Hunter was alone and lying motionless on the ground, two people approached and tried to help him. They carried him through the crowd the best they could, but the band was loud and the fans did not make way for the body. Eventually, the two men managed to carry Hunter's body around the side of the stage, and delivered him to the Red Cross tent. 

Despite the multiple stab wounds in his neck and severe head injuries, Hunter was still alive. The doctor quickly determined he needed immediate surgery, and would not make it unless he could be airlifted to a hospital. But the only helicopter capable of making such a trip had been reserved for the Stones and was, in no uncertain terms, not available to take Hunter to the emergency room. Even over a matter of life or death. As a result, Hunter died waiting for an ambulance. 


The Stones Waited Too Long To Make Their Entrance

The Grateful Dead were expected to play right before the Rolling Stones that night, but they saw the crowd deteriorating and decided to cut out before their set. This left the already restless crowd even more annoyed, especially when there was no music for close to two hours. The Stones decided to wait for darkness to take the stage, hoping for a more dramatic entrance. But as they warmed up backstage, an Angel appeared and said to Jagger, "You better get the f*ck out here before the place blows! I'm telling you... People are going to die out there. Get out there. You've been told."



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Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:58:26 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/altamont-free-concert-facts/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[12 Unusual Facts You Never Knew About Queen Victoria]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/wild-facts-about-queen-victoria/tamar-altebarmakian

Just as the Victorian era is incorrectly portrayed as a period of demureness, misconceptions about the British monarchy – specifically, Queen Victoria – are equally persistent. In reality, crazy stories about the royal family abound from Victoria's court, the most well-known of which typically have to do with the standards Victoria set for Victorian mourning customs. However, despite accounts of her puritanical tendencies, Victoria was actually quite fond of sex and had a deep appreciation for the naked human form. Even the contents of her grave – the things she wanted to be interred with for eternity – had some highly sexual overtones that spoke to the question of what sex was like during the Victorian era.

While she took pleasure in the joys of the flesh, her life was also marked by a great deal of loneliness, from her isolated days as a child to her many years of mourning for her late husband Albert. However, despite her darker days, she managed to lead the British monarchy during a time of great peace and prosperity (at least for the British) as the second longest-reigning English monarch – she reigned for over 60 years, spanning the decades between 1876 and 1901.


12 Unusual Facts You Never Knew About Queen Victoria,

She Disliked Children Despite Having Nine Of Them

To be fair, you probably wouldn’t be raving about the joys of pregnancy and motherhood after you’d delivered nine children in under 17 years. When she had her first child, Vicky, Victoria was awestruck by the miracle of birth, telling her ladies-in-waiting: "It seems like a dream having a child. She was awake and very sweet and I must say, I was very proud of her." However, her opinion on babies and children changed as the years passed. When a newly married Vicky expressed her joy at the thought of being a mother, the Queen told her daughter:

“[what] you say of the pride of giving life to an immortal soul is very fine, dear, but I own I cannot enter into that; I think much more of our being like a cow or a dog at such moments; when our poor nature becomes so very animal and unecstatic.”

She also expressed her disgust about the "lottery" of marriage and childbearing, saying:

“All marriage is such a lottery – the happiness is always an exchange – though it may be a very happy one – still the poor woman is bodily and morally the husband's slave. That always sticks in my throat. When I think of a merry, happy, and free young girl – and look at the ailing aching state a young wife is generally doomed to – which you can't deny is the penalty of marriage."


She Had Hundreds Of Dolls

Since Victoria wasn’t allowed to play with other children, she spent much of her time playing with her dolls. The Queen must have possessed hundreds of dolls, given that 132 of them have been preserved, and she played with them until she was 14 years old. The dolls themselves were plain, but Victoria dressed them in exquisitely crafted costumes that she made herself. The dolls’ wardrobes were made of high-quality silk, expensive lace, and even small jewels. The young Princess would dress the dolls as members of court (one doll was made to look like Queen Elizabeth I), characters from plays and operas, and ballet dancers.


She Started The Trend Of Wearing White Wedding Dresses

While she wasn’t the first royal to wear a white dress to her wedding (that was Queen Philippa), she was the royal to popularize it. At the time, most wedding dresses were colorful, with red being a favorite when Victoria married. Historically, women who chose to wear white on their wedding day did so not because it was a symbol of a woman’s purity, which is a widely held misconception, but because it was a sign of one’s wealth. During Victoria’s time, ornate white fabric was highly valuable, and it was difficult to keep white garments clean. This is why many women wore colored gowns for their wedding; it was easier to hide the stains.

So did Victoria choose to wear white to show the world the breadth of her wealth? Some scholars seem to think so, but others argue that the Queen wore white as a sign of support for the working-class lace workers. Handmade lace was swiftly becoming replaced with factory-produced lace, and many textile workers found themselves unemployed. By choosing a white dress, Victoria was able to more prominently showcase the intricate lace of her dress and make a statement.


She Wasn’t Allowed To Spend Time With Other Children

As part of their efforts to control the future royal heir, Victoria’s mother and Sir John Conroy developed a disciplinary regime called the “Kensington System,” which limited young Victoria’s freedom and kept her under constant supervision. It ensured that Victoria would be accompanied by someone at all times – her mother slept beside her, and she wasn’t even permitted to walk down the stairs without someone holding her hand.

All of her actions were controlled and monitored. However, despite having someone with her at all times, she led a considerably isolated life, as her mother and Conroy limited her interactions with the rest of the royal family and almost never allowed her to meet other children. Their hope was that, through this strict regime, the two adults would be able to control and manipulate Victoria once she was crowned. Unfortunately, they underestimated Victoria’s resilience and willpower. The first two things Victoria asked for upon reaching the age of majority were an hour of complete solitude and her own bedroom.  


She Outlived Three Of Her Children

There’s some debate about the life expectancy during the Victorian period, but most studies place the average death age between the late 30s and the late 50s. Queen Victoria, stubborn as she was, lived until the age of 81, reigning for 63 years. In addition to outliving her husband Albert, she outlived three of her children. The first of her children to die was Princess Alice who passed away after she caught diphtheria from her son. It’s said that she caught the infection after she kissed her son, Ernest, who also had diphtheria. She was consoling him after the death of one of her daughters who had died of the illness weeks before.

Victoria’s son Leopold died when he suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage after he slipped and fell. He was in Cannes, France, at the time, sent there by his doctor because the warm weather was better for his joint pain, which was caused by his hemophilia. The last of Victoria’s children to die before her was Prince Alfred, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He died of throat cancer at the age of 55.


She Had A Fondness For Nudes

Although she was often depicted as prudish, Queen Victoria was reportedly quite comfortable with the human figure. An exhibit of the paintings the royal couple gifted to one another revealed that Victoria’s tastes were actually a little more risque than her husband’s. While his tastes ran closer to the demure, Victoria gave her husband Albert several paintings that featured bare flesh, including William Edward Frost's Una Among the Fauns and Wood Nymphs and The Disarming of Cupid, as well as Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s Florinda.

She also commissioned an intimate portrait of herself now known as “the secret picture,” which was made to be seen only by the Prince. While it might not look particularly tantalizing to us, Victoria’s languid pose, her far-off, unfocused gaze, and her free-flowing hair would have been considered tantalizing at the time.


She Had Her Children Spied On To Control Them

Growing up in a highly controlled environment didn’t make Victoria any less controlling – quite the opposite, in fact. She hired a number of spies to watch over her children and report back on their activities. She also wanted her youngest child, Beatrice, to remain unmarried and by her side for the remainder of her life. When Beatrice married, Victoria refused to speak to her for nearly six months.

Even more shocking were Victoria’s actions towards her beloved Albert. The two would supposedly get into passionate rows, and it’s said that Albert would become fearful of the Queen during these fights. Apparently, her temper was so ferocious that Albert would slip notes under her door instead of facing her in person.


She Was The Target Of At Least Seven Assassination Attempts

During the course of her reign, Queen Victoria was attacked on at least seven separate occasions by madmen, some of who may have been harbored unhealthy fascinations with the Queen. Many of these assassination attempts happened while the Queen was traveling in her carriage, and at least four of the attempts involved a gun. Although several shots were fired at Victoria, she made it through these assassination attempts physically unscathed with one exception. On the evening of June 27, 1850, as Victoria and three of her children were on their way back to Buckingham Palace, a well-dressed man approached the royal carriage and struck Victoria in the head with his cane. Apparently, the blow was so strong that it crushed the Queen’s bonnet and drew some blood.

None of the men who attempted to assassinate the Queen were sentenced to death. Most of them were found to be of unsound mind and were either banished to a penal colony or held in custody for the duration of Victoria’s reign.


She Proposed To Her Husband

While it would be awesome if Victoria proposed to Albert because she had this super progressive streak to her, the real reason she did the proposing was because, as sovereign, she had to. She warmly described the moment in her journal: "At about ½ p.12, I sent for Albert," the Queen wrote on the day.

"He came to the Closet where I was alone, and after a few minutes I said to him, that I thought he must be aware why I wished them to come here,- and that it would make me too happy if he would consent to what I wished (to marry me); we embraced each other over and over again, and he was so kind, so affectionate... I really felt it was the happiest brightest moment in my life."


She Introduced Hemophilia To Several European Royal Bloodlines

Hemophilia has been referred to as the “Royal Disease” because it was passed down to a number of European ruling families through Queen Victoria. It is a rare inherited disease that affects blood's ability to clot. Victoria’s son Leopold had hemophilia, and two of her daughters were carriers. Her daughter Beatrice, who married into the Spanish ruling family, passed the gene to Spain’s male heir. One of Victoria’s other daughters, Alice, had a daughter who was a carrier of the disease and passed it on to Russia’s male heir to the throne.



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Fri, 24 Feb 2017 05:56:19 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/wild-facts-about-queen-victoria/tamar-altebarmakian
<![CDATA[Slang From Dead Languages That's So Fresh Rigor Mortis Hasn't Set In Yet]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/super-fresh-dead-language-slang/jacob-shelton

Sometimes a simple "f*ck you" doesn’t cut it and you need some funny ancient phrases to spice up your life and Yo Mama battles. If you’re dying to get into dead languages because you’ve already mastered hobo slang, and slang terms from the 1930s are simply a great depression, then it’s high time that you start speaking like someone from Ancient Greece. Keep reading to get knee-deep into some dead language slang, and make your linguistics professor proud and maybe a little offended.

Most people have an idea in their heads that humans who lived thousands of years ago were incredibly proper and acted as the kindest of knaves, but judging from their slang terms that’s simply not true. Romans spoke filthy slang that got awfully precise, and those who spoke ye olde Middle English had some of the most disgusting terms you’ve ever heard. Begin recycling some of these third-degree dead language burns, and experience a comeback greater than Jesus from his tomb.


Slang From Dead Languages That's So Fresh Rigor Mortis Hasn't Set In Yet,

Hāmum Vorāre

This translates to "to swallow this hook," so you would use this when you trick someone into an Ocean's 11 type scheme. 


Ī In Malam Crucem

This literally means "get crucified." Whatever you do, don't say this to Jesus. 


Nunu

The ancient Egyptians referred to their babies as nunus, based on the word nu which means fragile. 


Merda

Normal folks who spoke Latin when it was still a viable language used this to talk about going #2 rather than using the fancy pants excreta.


Calidam Mingō Quod Frīgidam Bibī

Are you trying to tell people you do the best you can in bad situations? Then use this ancient Latin phrase that means "I piss hot what I drank cold."


Scelus

In Plautus' Aulularia, a character frequently abuses a character by calling him "scelus" which means a crime or sin, not a kind of person, so get ready to hurt some feelings with this one. 


Dūc Tē!

If you were in Ancient Rome and wanted to tell someone to "get lost" this would be how you did it. 


Operae Pretium

In Ancient Latin you would say this when you were trying to convince someone to hang out. It means "worth the bother."


Earthapple

People who spoke Middle English referred to potatoes as earthapples, which is what everyone should be calling them right now. 


Lupus In Fābulā

When you're talking about someone and they show up you would say this, which means "a wolf in the tale," the Ancient Roman version of 'speak of the devil.'



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Fri, 07 Apr 2017 10:47:38 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/super-fresh-dead-language-slang/jacob-shelton
<![CDATA[8 Kings And Queens Who Weren't Even Double-Digits When They Ascended The Throne]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/babies-who-took-the-throne/nida-sea

When you picture a royal monarch seated on the throne, you’re probably imagining some strapping royal hunk or bejeweled and beautiful lady seated neatly in a tall throne and wearing a golden crown, right? Would you ever picture a baby taking the throne? Probably not, but it's a thing that's certainly happened throughout history. In fact, some of the youngest people who became monarchs were less than a year old at the time of their ascension. Some were even crowned in utero, but that didn’t necessarily mean they could rule the moment they were born. Until they came of age, baby kings and queens were supported by a regent – someone who would legally rule until the minor monarch came of age – often comprised of mothers, uncles, aunts, or grandparents. Sometimes, these regents did well in keeping the kingdom afloat until the child could take control of the throne, other times, greed and power overtook their desire to rule.  

So, were all young inheritors of the throne always successful? Sadly, no. However, there were notable monarchs – like Sobhuza II of Swaziland and Liu Zhao of China – who fared better, made strong impacts on their kingdoms, and often ruled for lengthy periods, leaving behind a strong country and many descendants. Others did what they could during their often short-lived rules. 


8 Kings And Queens Who Weren't Even Double-Digits When They Ascended The Throne,

Alfonso XIII of Spain

Assuming the throne while in utero, Alfonso XIII was crowned King immediately after his birth on May 17, 1886. His mother served as his regent until he was 16. Considered a "beloved" young King, Alfonso did some pretty cool things for his country during the early years of his rule. He remained neutral throughout World War I, providing a safe haven for prisoners of war, no matter which side approached his country for aid. During his marriage ceremony, he and his wife survived an assassination attempt, which would be the first of many as Spain made its way to a second phase as a republic. He also survived what’s now known as the Spanish Flu. Later, he was ousted from the throne due to the formation of the Second Republic. He died in exile in Rome in 1941.


Christina, Queen of Sweden

Ruling an empire for 10 years before retiring, Queen Christina of Sweden took the throne at the age of six after her father, King Gustave II Adolf, perished in 1632 CE. As a young Queen of 18, Christina brokered a peace deal to end a 30-year war, prevented a civil war, and helped enrich Sweden. Despite the success of her rule, Queen Christina was thought to be "mannish" in appearance and not very attractive. Rumors also flew about that she was lesbian or bisexual, as she never had a desire to marry. This overbearing stress caused her to abdicate the throne to her cousin Charles X. Gustave in 1642.


Emperor Zhao of Han

In 88 CE, at the tender age of nine, Liu Zhao – who would become Emperor Hedi, known as the “Harmonious Emperor” – became the fourth Emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty in China. Given his age at the time of his ascension to power, Liu Zhao's grandmother and her brother, his great-uncle, controlled the Empire for much of his youth. It was under the direction of these two regents, in fact, that Emperor Hedi helped his people survive several natural disasters including droughts, reoccurring floods, and locusts. At the same time, Hedi, again with help from his elders, lessened taxes in order to alleviate the common people's stress. He also gave them permission to hunt on the his lands, and he opened government-only grain stores to give to the hungry people.

However, as he grew up, Emperor Hedi became resentful of his grandmother and great-uncle and had them removed (some say murdered) by his loyal courtier eunuchs. From there, following on his father’s original promise to the eunuchs, Hedi gave them land and hereditary titles, which they could pass onto adopted sons, thereby remaining a part of history despite their impotence. Regardless of the fact that he potentially had his own grandmother killed, Emperor Hedi is fondly remembered for all the good things that happened during his reign.


Mary, Queen of Scots

The Queen of Scots, Mary Stuart, was pronounced Queen at six days old in 1542 CE. Since she was too young to take the throne, several regents – including her mother, the French Mary of Guise – would rule in her stead until she reached adulthood. At the age of five, she was initially betrothed to her great uncle’s son, Prince Edward of England. However, Scotland didn’t approve of the betrothal, and Mary was kept hidden in safe houses to avoid being taken away and forced into the marriage, which is now known as “The Rough Wooing.” Instead, she was sent to France to be raised and educated, and she became betrothed to Prince Francis, the son of the French King Henry II and Catherine de Medicis. Eventually, Mary did become Queen of France for a brief period; however, her rule was short lived, lasting only two years.

Mary returned to Scotland in 1561, and, although the once Catholic country was now staunchly Protestant, Mary was able to rule and create an atmosphere of religious tolerance. She had six years of (mostly) peaceful rule before she was – for a number of complicated political reasons that included an injudicious marriage – imprisoned for 18 years for an assassination attempt on England's Queen Elizabeth I, for which she was eventually put to death.


Rukidi IV of Toro

In 1995 – upon the death of his father – King Oyo of Toro succeeded the throne at a mere three years old. Uganda is broken up into four historical kingdoms, Bunyoro, Buganda, Ankole, and Toro; King Oyo's ancestral territory is the last of these. After receiving the throne in his toddler years, Oyo's aunt, mother, and Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya (Ugandan President Museveni) all served as regents to help him rule until he came of age. As ruler, King Oyo has lobbied for donations to be used for social welfare and economic projects. He’s focused heavily on education, health, and culture. Moreover, as a young king, he’s received support and mentoring from other leaders. Plus, the people of his kingdom really like King Oyo, since he’s young and willing to do things and try strategies that older, more established Kings won’t.  


Shapur II

They placed a crown on his mother’s pregnant belly to name their leader: Shah Shapur II of Persia. Despite the disasters that befell his elder brothers who were next in line – like murder and blinding – Shah Shapur II became a great king of the Persian Dynasty when he came of age. He raided enemy forces as retaliation, led an expedition through Britain to defeat strong Arab forces, and, after Constantine I died, he retook Armenia. He was known as a strong military leader, though a tyrant to Roman forces. When he died in 379 CE, he left his Persian country stronger than he inherited it, as well as still holding control of Armenia.  


Shunzhi Emperor

A great ruler of the Manchuria kingdom, Fulin, took the throne at five years old in 1643 CE. His paternal uncle served as his regent and captured Beijing, making Fulin Emperor of the Quin Dynasty, receiving the title of Shunzhi. Considered a kind man, Emperor Shunzhi was often influenced by Buddhist priests and his eunuch officials. A German Jesuit missionary he called mafa (grandfather), often provided Shunzhi counsel, resulting in Shunzhi permitting "mafa" to build a Roman Catholic church in Beijing. One accomplishment that Shunzhi became particularly known for was boosting the number of Chinese people in the Manchu government. Sadly, Shunzhi died at the young age of 22, with rumors suggesting his death came after losing a consort he favored. 


Sobhuza II

Imagine a tiny four-month-old baby receiving the title of king and keeping it for the next 80 years. That’s what happened to Sobhuza II, an African ruler who accomplished many positive changes for his people, which included: winning independence from Britain and helping write a constitution for Swaziland. Sobhuza II was beloved by his people, and he often appeared at festivities and rituals and practiced traditional medicine. In this way, he was particularly good at bridging traditional Swazi practices and traditions with new ways of governance. Despite unclear records, it’s said that Sobhuza had over 70 wives, around 210 children, and over 1,000 grandchildren. He also married into high-class Swazi families, assuring stronger ties to keep his family and country resilient.  



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Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:57:40 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/babies-who-took-the-throne/nida-sea
<![CDATA[11 Brutal Facts About The History of Indentured Servitude In Colonial America]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/indentured-servitude-in-colonial-america/aaron-edwards

It’s hard to picture indentured servants in America doing the heavy agricultural lifting in the place of slaves, but, for a time, this practice was the lay of the land in the New World. Very early on in the nation's history, instead of enslaved Africans working fields, it was indentured servants – transplants from England who exchanged their freedom and labor for passage to the Colonies in the hopes of eventually acquiring their own plots of land, tools, and animals. Back then, having land meant you had a means to support yourself, and, in order to gain some ground of their very own, poor English folk were willing to exchange their freedom for the opportunity, regardless of how they were treated as indentured servants. There was plenty of land to go around in the New World, which meant that those who jumped on the bandwagon quickly enough could have, at least, a shot at a decent life. Of course, what constituted a good life for a freed indentured servant was a far cry from the lifestyles of the colonial elite, the slave and indentured servants' owners who ate the most disgusting, decadent colonial foods you can imagine as just one part of their lavish ways of living. The problem was that sometimes the trouble of obtaining that land meant becoming someone else’s property... at least for a time.

And, of course, unlike slaves, indentured servants could eventually earn their freedom, which is one of the reasons why they became less popular over the years. Many immigrants viewed indentured servitude in Colonial America as a way to establish themselves in a new country, but the arrangement didn’t always work out as planned.


11 Brutal Facts About The History of Indentured Servitude In Colonial America,

There Were Some Benefits

Servants were given food, clothing, and shelter during their stay with their masters. Some particularly generous masters even gave them a salary during their time working. Assuming they survived, the servant was also paid something called “freedom dues” or a “freedom package.” These usually included stuff like land, corn, new clothing, and tools, giving them the basics they would need to make a modest living. They were also allowed to leave the plantation for good.


Sadly, Many Of Them Were Mistreated And Died

Working on a plantation was difficult work. Many indentured servants were overworked, and, when they were even remotely insubordinate, they were beaten. This violence – along with disease – led to a high mortality rate among indentured servants. Some masters also sexually assaulted their female servants or beat them to death. In fact, there were instances where some servants organized protests for the way they were treated... only to be hanged in response.


Servants Still Had Some Freedom

Indentured servants were not treated as badly as slaves. While they were technically considered property and worked hard, they still had some freedom. As long as they fulfilled their work obligations, they were allowed to leave the plantation with their master’s permission. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to get married or have children. Anyone who did faced severe punishment. 


Indentured Servants Signed Contracts

When an indentured servant had their fare across the Atlantic paid, they signed a contract that led to them working for their benefactor as a servant for a certain number of years. That number would be anything from four to seven years, with an average of five years. During that time, the servant was seen as their master’s personal property through the contract. That contract could be inherited should the owner die, and it could also be sold between masters. The price would be determined by the skills the servant possessed.


For A Time, The System Was More Popular Than Slavery

Slaves certainly existed in the early days of the Colonies, but they actually weren’t as widely used as indentured servants... for a time, that is. The reason for this was that the servants came with a great deal of benefits. For each servant a master sponsored to cross the Atlantic, they were given 50 acres of land by the British Government since taking on indentured servants from the homeland helped deal with the overpopulation and poverty problems there. Those benefits greatly exceeded the cost of feeding a servant and paying their way across the sea, so plantation owners embraced the system as a way to substantially increase their land holdings. Not only did they get more land, but they also got someone to work on it for them.


It Was A Way Of Paying The Passage To The New World

Boat travel during the early days of the Colonies was neither cheap nor safe. Many people died during the passage over the Atlantic, and those that survived found themselves with hefty travel bills to pay back. For the wealthy, travel wasn’t exactly a problem. But, for those who did incur a debt, the Virginia Company set up a system of indentured servitude that enabled them to pay back whatever they owed by working it off. This travel-for-labor exchange system ended up becoming the foundation of the New World’s economy.


In The Americas, The Practice Started In The Early 1600s

Indentured servitude made its way to Colonial America in the early 1600s. Why? Because, at the time, the Colonies didn’t have the infrastructure they would eventually have in the 1700s, and they needed to build it. The Virginia Company of London finished construction of Jamestown in 1607, and they really needed people to help get the town (and much of the surrounding area) on its feet. The way to do that was cheap labor – shipping people over who couldn't afford to ship themselves – thus indentured servants came into play.


Many Indentured Servants Went On The Run

It's no secret that – regardless of their relative rights – many indentured servants were severely mistreated. Sometimes, that mistreatment was harsh enough for them to go on the run. Since most indentured servants were white and could speak English, they were very difficult to find and capture as they headed north, as they could easily assimilate into a local population. If they were captured, however, more years were put onto their contract as punishment, along with any physical punishments their master deemed necessary.


In England, Indentured Servitude Is A Tale As Old As Time

In reality, indentured servitude in England – the forefather of indentured servitude in the United States – has a long history that goes all the way back to the days of medieval serfdom, when the lower, working classes functioned as bounded tenant farmers on the lands of the landed elite. Legislatively, the practice also has a robust history in that country. In 1349, for example, an Ordinance known as the Ordinance of Labourers declared that any man or woman under the age of 60 who wasn't a tradesperson with a particular craft was required to "serve" someone with their labor. The law, which was updated in both 1495 and 1563, essentially attempted to reduce the number of the unemployed and those living in poverty by forcing them into a livelihood. In addition, the law was still in effect when Jamestown was founded, and it would play a role in indentured servitude in the New World, as well.


At First, Africans Were Also Indentured Servants

When the first black Africans were forcefully brought to Virginia in 1619, they weren’t treated as slaves per se, as there were no slave laws in place. Therefore, they were made indentured servants and were more or less given the same opportunities as their white counterparts. Unfortunately, over the next few decades slave laws were passed in the Colonies, and black folks saw their freedoms taken away. Indentured servitude became an exclusive opportunity for white people before the practice disappeared altogether.



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Tue, 04 Apr 2017 07:03:23 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/indentured-servitude-in-colonial-america/aaron-edwards
<![CDATA[10 Ways The National Endowment For The Arts Has Changed History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-nea-changed-history/evan-lambert

Controversial movies and art have always sparked heated discussions, so it comes as no surprise that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) also births lively debates about the value of public support of the arts. The NEA has been on the chopping block ever since 1987, when it enabled an artist to submerge a crucifix in his own urine. Bold and unafraid, the NEA has always funded a plethora of controversial art, such as the American Film Institute and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Despite its habit of courting controversy, the NEA is responsible for some awesome services such as an arts therapy program for hospitalized military personnel in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. It also introduced theatre and the arts in general to a small Appalachian town that is now bursting with talent and creativity. However, time and time again, the NEA suffers trepidation at being cut from government spending. 

Since the NEA's inception in 1965, it has also been responsible for some of the most famous and beloved byproducts of modern American culture. You might be surprised by some of the best musical movies that are among the things to thank the NEA for. Listed here are ways the National Endowment for the Arts has changed culture for the better. 


10 Ways The National Endowment For The Arts Has Changed History,

The NEA Played A Substantial Role In The Growth Of The Sundance Institute

The NEA has supported the Sundance Institute since 1981, when it funded the Institute's first-ever workshop for emerging filmmakers. As Robert Redford, the Institute's founder, put it: "Our very beginning was due in large part to the support of the NEA. The Arts Endowment has played a key role in encouraging organizations like the Sundance Institute to grow and expand its influence." 

Thanks to the Sundance Film Festival, we've been blessed with filmmaking legends like Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell, and Darren Aronofsky. 

 


We Wouldn't Have A Way To Preserve Famous Films

Thanks to the NEA, the American Film Institute (AFI) not only exists, but is able to house and preserve films deemed important to the world of cinema. Sixteen years after founding the AFI in 1967, the NEA worked with its baby organization to create the National Center for Film and Video Preservation. This crucial program is how aliens will be able to know what movies mankind thought were important. 

Fun fact: the first films to be preserved were John Ford’s Stagecoach (1949), Victor Flemings’ Joan of Arc (1948), Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), and D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916). 


'Hamilton' Would Have Lacked Financial Support In The Beginning

Hamilton may have endured attacks from the executive branch in late 2016, but ironically, the musical only exists because of the executive branch. A $30,000 grant from the NEA provided partial support to Powerhouse Theater’s 2013 staging of The Hamilton Mixtape in New York City, which eventually became the beloved international phenomenon that won, like, 500 Tony Awards. 


Like A Tiger In A Cage, 'Rent' Would Never Have Seen The Sun

This beloved musical about life, love, and drugs would not exist if it weren’t for an NEA grant to the New York Theatre Workshop. Rent was first workshopped at NYTW in 1994 before moving on to Broadway, where it quickly won buzz, adoration, and a Pulitzer Prize. It was also adapted into a movie featuring Rosario Dawson, and who knows where we'd be without that.


The NEA Provided A Way To Honor Vietnam Veterans

Lest you start to think that the National Endowment for the Arts is nothing more than a hippie Kickstarter for drama geeks, it might be helpful to know that the NEA funded the beginning stages of construction for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 


'Into The Woods' Wouldn't Have Made It To Act One

Without a $195,000 grant from the NEA in 1986, San Diego's Old Globe Theatre might not have been able to fund its world premiere of Into the WoodsAnd if the Sondheim musical had never been produced, then it wouldn't have gone on to Broadway and won several Tonys. It also never would have been adapted into the 2014 movie that netted Meryl Streep her 19th Oscar nomination. 


'A Prairie Home Companion' Wouldn't Have Found An Audience

A 1976 grant helped Garrison Keillor’s satirical variety show about small-town Minnesota life transform from a college auditorium curio into a beloved national program that entertains millions of radio listeners. The show's success also inspired a movie adaptation, written by Keillor himself, which garnered critical acclaim when it hit theaters in 2006. Poised to be Lindsay Lohan's comeback film after her partying had started making headlines, A Prairie Home Companion mostly only turned heads for Meryl Streep. 


The American Ballet Theatre Literally Wouldn't Even Exist

It is important to acknowledge the NEA's first-ever grant, which went to the American Ballet Theatre in 1965. At the time, the theatre was literally about to fold, but thanks to the NEA's $100,000 in emergency funds, the Theatre continues to perform for 450,000 people every year around the world. 


Michael Cunningham Might Not Have Written 'The Hours'

Before writing the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Hours, Michael Cunningham was able to complete his 1990 debut novel, A Home at the End of the World, with help from a NEA fellowship. If not for the success of his debut novel, which was later adapted into a movie starring Colin Farrell and Robin Wright, Cunningham may not have gone on to write The Hours. Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for her role in the 2002 movie adaptation. 


Alice Walker Might Not Have Found Her Literary Voice

If not for a 1970 NEA Discovery Award, Alice Walker wouldn't have had the funds necessary to eat while writing her debut novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland. Without this auspicious start, she may not have gone on to write The Color Purple, which became a literary classic. The book was later adapted into a movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in their feature film debuts. 



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Tue, 11 Apr 2017 02:33:59 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-nea-changed-history/evan-lambert
<![CDATA[14 Facts About The Janissaries, The Ruthless Army That Inspired The Unsullied]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-janissaries-facts/stephanroget

The Ottoman Empire may qualify as one of the most important and influential – but least discussed – major empires in history, which may have something to do with the Christianity versus Islam bent of Western historical education. This lack of recognition extends to their elite and unique military units, known as the Janissaries, AKA slave fighting forces. The Janissaries should probably be discussed in the same breath as other renowned warrior groups, like the Roman Legionnaires or the Spartans, but they continue to be unheralded. A highly-trained band of slave warriors, akin to the Unsullied of Game of Thrones fame, the Janissaries left more than ample evidence of their tenacity and tougness throughout their nearly half millennium of existence.

Beginning in the 14th century, the Janissaries served the Ottoman Sultan personally and remained in the role right up until the dying days of the Empire. A Turkish conflict didn’t go by that didn’t include some sort of involvement by the Janissaries, and they almost always played a central role. Their heroic acts stand up against any other collection of brave military events, and they certainly did enough to earn a spot on any list of tough historical warriors.


14 Facts About The Janissaries, The Ruthless Army That Inspired The Unsullied,

They Existed For Almost 500 Years

Most empires don’t last half a millennium, never mind a singular military force hanging around for that long. However, the Janissaries were around for almost 500 years, getting their start in 1380 CE, when Sultan Murad I formed them, and lasting until 1826, when Sultan Mahmud II ended them. During that time, the Janissaries were involved in every Ottoman military conflict, and they played a central role in most of them. From the beginning, there was a sharp distinction between the Janissaries and the other factions of the Ottoman Army, like the freeborn Sipahis, which ensures that their lengthy history is fully their own.


They Got Heavily Involved In Politics As The Centuries Wore On

The Janissaries spent much of their history as loyal servants to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, but they certainly didn’t end their story in that role. As the centuries passed, the Janissaries gained more and more political influence, using social and economic unrest to seize greater power. The Janissaries started to gain a reputation for fomenting rebellion on their own, especially when they were involved in a couple of schemes to overthrow and replace various Sultans. This increased interest in politics coincided with a decrease in the effectiveness of Janissaries, who began to be blamed for several military defeats.


Slaves Phased Out As Membership Became More General

In their glory days, the Janissaries were subject to a strict set of rules and regulations, including celibacy. The recruitment of Janissaries was also supposed to be limited solely to captured and converted Christian children, but, over time, necessity caused the Ottomans to slacken on all of the Janissary rules. With their celibacy pledges removed, the Janissaries started to produce children, who were subsequently let into the organization. Eventually, the need for greater numbers caused the membership standards to weaken even more, with any old Muslim citizen welcome to join up, freeborn or not.


They Helped Capture Constantinople

Perhaps the most famous military victory in the history of the Ottoman Empire is their capture of Constantinople in 1453, less than 100 years after the formation of the Janissaries. The battle saw the Ottomans take the capital city of the Byzantine Empire and change its name to Istanbul in a transition that was immortalized in the catchiest of pop songs. The Janissaries played a major role in the event, making up a good percentage of the attacking army and bursting into the city wherever breaches were found. The fall of Constantinople helped spread the legend of the Janissaries early on in their history.


They Created The First Military Music Bands

Military bands are an important part of the history of warfare. In fact, it’s hard to imagine old-timey battles without some sort of musical accompaniment, be it Civil War drummers or someone sounding the cavalry charge. The Janissaries started it all, however, as they are credited with forming history’s first military bands. The Janissary bands helped the troops maintain their unique marching pace, and they included a lot of cymbals and horns. The bands stayed a part of the Janissary culture right up until the end of their existence.


They Also Served As Firefighters In Large Ottoman Cities

As the ranks of the Janissaries grew, the Ottoman Empire found other roles for the famous fighting force to fulfill. Janissaries were posted throughout the Empire, mostly in military applications, but they took on more municipal duties in the most populated cities. In the biggest Ottoman metropolises, such as Istanbul, Janissaries served as firemen, putting their military training to work by stamping out blazes before they could spread throughout densely packed neighborhoods. One would hope they didn’t use their small arms proficiency too often when serving in this role.


Colonels Were Called "Soup Cooks" And Were Forced To Wear Ladles

As much as the Janissaries were feared and revered, their masters never wanted to let them forget their place as vassals of the Ottoman Empire. The Janissary equivalent of a colonel was known as çorbaci, which literally translates to “soup cook,” and carried a ladle with him to signify his position. These commanders weren’t actually cooking anyone any soup, but the title was meant to connote their life of servitude. Lower military ranks were given similarly demeaning names, such as water carrier.


They Specialized In Ranged Weaponry

The Janissaries often feature as a specialized unit for the Ottoman Empire in historical strategy games, like the Civilization Series, and they’re always portrayed as a ranged unit. This is because the Janissaries specialized in ranged weaponry, upgrading their tools of the trade as the centuries wore on. Initially, the Janissaries were trained as bowmen, before upgrading to crossbows for greater range and effectiveness. The popularization of gun powder led to them picking up muskets, and other small arms were adopted from there. In their final years, the Janissaries failed to upgrade with the times in terms of weaponry, which helped lead to their downfall.


They Swelled To Over 100,000 Members

The very first Janissaries were formed from a single group of prisoners of war who had surrendered to the Ottoman Sultan and his service. This small collection of former enemies swelled over the centuries to include tens of thousands of men, many of whom were more loyal vassal than prisoner of war. At the peak of their power, and long after the strict recruiting traditions had faded, the Janissaries numbered at well over 100,000 members. Not all of these members were fighters, however, as the organization welcomed more and more non-combatants into their ranks as the years went on.


They Were Slaves Who Pledged Celibacy

The Janissaries were originally a fighting force made up entirely of slaves. These slaves, known as "kul," were legally the property of the Ottoman Sultan and were permanently bound to whomever held that title. In their first couple centuries of existence, the Janissaries were recruited almost entirely from Christian peasant families within the Empire, who often gave up their children freely in hopes of giving them a better life. The children would be brought back to the capital city, forcibly converted to Islam, and trained extensively for military service. The Janissaries were subject to many strict rules, including an oath of celibacy.



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Thu, 19 Jan 2017 04:58:16 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-janissaries-facts/stephanroget
<![CDATA[12 Historically Beloved Figures That J. Edgar Hoover Hated And Tried To Destroy]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/people-j-edgar-hoover-hated/philgibbons

For six decades, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was the most powerful law enforcement figure in the United States. Unfortunately for the people that J. Edgar Hoover tried to destroy, he used this power irresponsibly to pursue surprisingly petty agendas against some high-profile individuals who had no criminal backgrounds. J. Edgar Hoover's secret files contained voluminous reports concerning all sorts of famous public figures and celebrities merely because they were people that J. Edgar Hoover hated or distrusted.

Much more ominously, he was able to continue his personal campaign of petty investigation because a succession of Presidents were also people J. Edgar Hoover kept files on, information that, if released to the public, would be both embarrassing and politically destructive. This ensured that Hoover was able to continue his bizarre preoccupation with trashing and investigating some perfectly nice people. And the files still exist to prove it.


12 Historically Beloved Figures That J. Edgar Hoover Hated And Tried To Destroy,

Albert Einstein

Although Albert Einstein was well known as one of the most innovative scientists and thinkers of the 20th century, the FBI focused its surveillance on the German ex-pat's political activities, which had a decidedly leftist bent. J. Edgar Hoover equated liberalism with communism and, therefore, considered Einstein to be a secret Red sympathizer and a possible Soviet agent.

The FBI routinely tapped Einstein's phone, read his mail, and even went through his garbage in an attempt to connect him with sinister forces. In a biography of Hoover, written by scholar Fred Jerome, accounts of Einstein's former home in Germany, purportedly written by Hoover, describe it as "a Communist center" and "the hiding place of Moscow envoys," which disqualified him from participating in the US Army's Manhattan Project to construct the atomic bomb. Despite a 1,500 page file that was compiled right up until Einstein's 1955 death, no communist connection was ever discovered.


Charlie Chaplin

British-born Charlie Chaplin was another personal obsession of J. Edgar Hoover, especially because Chaplin's leftist leanings and non-citizenship made him an easy target during the early '50s. Hoover distributed damaging rumors and malicious innuendo about Chaplin to one of his go-to gossip columnists, Hedda Hopper. She faithfully chronicled alleged communist ties and dissolute behavior on the part of the Hollywood icon.

Chaplin became so unpopular that he decided to stage the 1952 premiere of his film Limelight in London, his American bookings having become nonexistent. Upon his exit from the US, Chaplin was informed that his permission to reenter the country had been revoked by the Attorney General. Chaplin was so alarmed and disillusioned by this – as well as subsequent political developments during the '50s – that he remained in Europe and only briefly returned to Los Angeles to receive an honorary Academy Award in 1972, a mere days before Hoover's death.


Eleanor Roosevelt

Although J. Edgar Hoover worked closely with Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was relentless in pursuing and documenting the behavior and activity of the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Her FBI file has been described by historians as: "[One] of the wonders of the Western world. It is one of the largest individual files that Hoover compiled." 

3,900 pages in length, FBI investigators documented Eleanor's affair with the much younger Joseph Lash. When FDR was informed of this liaison, Lash would be immediately reassigned within the military. Additionally, Eleanor Roosevelt's FBI investigation has been described as including:

“charges against her for suspected Communist activities, threats to her life on the grounds of her disloyalty to the country, close monitoring of her activities and writings, and a record of possible insurrectionary groups that she may have influenced.”

As with most progressives, J. Edgar Hoover suspected that Eleanor Roosevelt, a tireless advocate for human and civil rights, social justice, and feminism, was secretly a communist.


Grateful Dead

Hoover and the FBI were convinced that rock and roll bands were somehow directly responsible for the proliferation of drug use in the '60s. One band that was supposedly knee deep in distributing LSD along the West Coast was the Grateful Dead, but the Bureau's files seem so out of touch as to render the suspicion ludicrous. The Dead are described in a 1970 official report as “a rock group of some sort.” Files also indicate that the band was one of several San Francisco-based acts that were an "internal security" threat from "the New Left."

FBI agents would routinely appear at Dead shows and were quite serious about the Dead's responsibility for massive amounts of LSD distribution. The final entry in their publicly available file is “LSD originates from San Francisco, California through a renowned rock group known as Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead is well known to DEA, San Francisco.”


Jean Seberg

The treatment of American actress Jean Seberg by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI was so egregious that it prompted a monumental Federal Senate investigation of the Bureau's operations and techniques. That's because, in the wake of the FBI aggressively harassing her on an international scale and fabricating slanderous lies about her pregnancy, Seberg committed suicide. Seberg appeared in several high-profile American films of the '50s and '60s, including The Mouse That Roared, Paint Your Wagon, and Airport. During the '60s, she contributed money to various activist groups, including the NAACP and Native-American organizations.

Hoover was reportedly particularly offended by the funding Seberg provided to the Black Panther Party. In 1970, the FBI helped concoct and plant a story in the mainstream media that Seberg's pregnancy was the result of a relationship with a Black Panther and not her husband. Upset, Seberg gave birth prematurely, and the infant subsequently died only days later. An open casket funeral of a Caucasian child refuted the FBI's subterfuge, and Seberg successfully sued Newsweek for printing the allegation. It is believed that Seberg was effectively blacklisted in Hollywood at this time, and she relocated to France where she continued her career in some memorable performances.

Still, she would be subjected to aggressive personal surveillance, burglaries, and phone wiretaps in France, Italy, and Switzerland. Her conduct and activities were routinely reviewed by both President Nixon and the Attorney General. Seberg officially committed suicide under mysterious circumstances in August of 1979, her loved ones alleging that her mental health had deteriorated under the stigma and systematic abuse of the clandestine campaign of the US Government. With Hoover already dead, the Bureau acknowledged misbehavior and instituted reforms prompted by the US Senate investigation known as the "Church Committee."


John Lennon

When John Lennon sang at a rally in December of 1971 for imprisoned activist John Sinclair, both the Nixon White House and J. Edgar Hoover went into beast mode to get the former Beatle and his wife, Yoko Ono, an American citizen, deported back to Great Britain. Richard Nixon was especially concerned that Lennon would be at the forefront of a movement to oppose Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign, the first presidential election to allow 18 year olds to vote. Senator Strom Thurmond, with information provided by the FBI, communicated directly with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Nixon to inform them of John Lennon's UK conviction for marijuana possession, a pretext that would be used in an attempt to cancel Lennon's temporary visa.

The former Beatle was so intimidated by the US Government's explicit threats to deport him – as well as the visible FBI surveillance – that he canceled any activity on behalf of Richard Nixon's political opponents. Lennon's battle to stay in the US would continue after Hoover's 1972 death. Only with the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 would John Lennon be granted permanent resident status. Eventually, files released from the FBI would show that J. Edgar Hoover made Lennon's deportation a top priority, so much so that a wanted poster was issued to local police departments with a picture of Lennon that stated that any arrest of him would make him immediately deportable. Typically, when it came to the Bureau's clueless persecution of rock and rollers, it was a photo of someone else.


Leonard Bernstein

Famed composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein came to the attention of the FBI in the early '40s for his supposed support of groups potentially harboring communist sympathies. Such information concerning Bernstein's interactions with or sponsorship of fundraising events connected to officially subversive organizations had disastrous personal consequences for Bernstein.

As a result of them, he was denied the renewal of his passport in 1953 at the height of the blacklisting and the House Un-American Activities Committee's furor over American communist infiltration. Bernstein's passport denial – undoubtedly prompted by the FBI's lengthy investigation into his background – forced him to undergo a humiliating process in which he was forced to disavow his previous connections, swear allegiance to the US, and deny any official Communist Party membership.  

Following the hysteria of the '50s, Bernstein drew the FBI's attention again in 1970 when he famously sponsored a fundraiser for the Black Panther Party at his Park Avenue apartment. Although this high-profile event would prompt popular-culture mockery by Tom Wolfe, among others, for its "radical chic" behavior, it also set off an FBI attempt to discredit Bernstein by leaking word of his connections to a Black Panther murder suspect. Information from Bernstein's lengthy FBI file was only obtained after an ACLU lawsuit. Heavily redacted, it contains nothing of Bernstein's bisexual affairs, something the FBI would have undoubtedly unearthed. This precipitated additional lawsuits to force the FBI to release un-redacted and complete versions of Bernstein's FBI files.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with various forces in the American political landscape, and this included outspoken members of the Civil Rights Movement – given the Director's belief that the Movement was infiltrated and manipulated by communists. Martin Luther King Jr. was front and center of this obsession. In fact, when Hoover informed the Kennedy White House that some of King's advisors had communist ties, it was agreed that the Bureau would wiretap King, including the motel rooms that King resided in while traveling throughout the South.

It quickly became apparent that Martin Luther King was engaging in extramarital affairs, behavior that Hoover hoped to publicize through sympathetic media contacts. Frustrated when this attempt to discredit King failed, Hoover then instructed an underling to compose and mail a letter to King that included tape recordings of King's assignations and implied that he would be exposed and compromised. The letter stated “[lend] your sexually psychotic ear to the enclosure,” and it gave a deadline of a month “before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” It also denounced King as an “evil, abnormal beast.” King ignored the package and threat, initially opened by his wife, but he had no doubt that it came from the FBI. Hoover continued to publicly denounce King after the Minister alleged that the FBI was too tight with racist police forces in the South. Hoover called the Nobel Laureate “the most notorious liar in the country.” 


Melvin Purvis

In 1934, J. Edgar Hoover was involved in a very high-profile war against criminals like John Dillinger, "Pretty Boy" Floyd, and "Baby Face" Nelson. These criminals had mocked law enforcement for years, and Hoover publicly proclaimed that their apprehension was only a matter of time. In the summer and fall of 1934, this struggle came to a climax when FBI agents, led by Chicago office director Melvin Purvis, killed all three of these notorious gangsters in rapid succession. Despite Bureau attempts to limit his recognition, Purvis was proclaimed a national hero for his supervision of and personal participation in the shoot outs that killed the three criminals.

The attention, which upstaged Hoover, personally enraged the Director, who disliked publicity for any FBI employee other than himself. He began a systematic attempt to harass and discredit Purvis, which prompted the agent's resignation only a year after the high-profile events of 1934. Hoover's animosity didn't stop there. He attempted to prevent Purvis's employment in various opportunities, blocked two federal judgeships, and repeatedly refused to meet with Purvis when his former associate would drop into FBI headquarters in Washington. Hoover never reconciled with his former colleague, who died of a possible suicide on February 29, 1960.


Pete Seeger

In 1942, while a Private in the US Army training to be an airplane mechanic, Pete Seeger wrote a letter to the California American Legion that was critical of the organization's official stance that – following WWII – all Japanese individuals, regardless of citizenship, should be deported. Seeger, the eventual composer of such American folk standards as "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?," "If I Had A Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn!," did not receive an official response from the Legion. Instead, they turned the letter over to the FBI, which immediately began a lengthy investigation that prevented Seeger from being deployed with his unit once it finished its training.

In coordination with the FBI, military intelligence investigators began reading Seeger's correspondence with his Japanese-American fiancé and looking into Seeger's academic background. Seeger was never deployed into combat; instead, he was assigned to entertaining troops in the Pacific. But, after the war, the FBI did not forget about Pete Seeger. When his folk group, the Weavers, reached national prominence in the early '50s, blacklisting eventually diminished their appeal. Like many artists with politically provocative backgrounds, Seeger was eventually asked to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and, instead of taking the Fifth Amendment or even providing information, he defiantly refused to answer questions. He was convicted of contempt of Congress and sentenced to a year in jail, but he eventually successfully appealed it. By then, the communist witch hunt had ended, but the Bureau would continue to closely monitor Seeger wll into the '70s; his FBI file stated that he "has manifested a revolutionary ideology." The FBI even communicated with the postmaster and police force of Seeger's tiny Beacon, NY, home, demanding that they report any suspicious activity.    



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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:35:05 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/people-j-edgar-hoover-hated/philgibbons
<![CDATA[10 Flat-Out Bizarre Historical Field Guides To Prostitution]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/prostitution-field-guides-from-history/cheryl-adams-richkoff

Prostitution truly is the world's oldest profession, and while historical field guides to prostitution have undoubtedly existed since ancient times, special small, printed, and detailed books were widely available for sale in major world cities during the 18th and 19th centuries. The guides provided a variety of information, including where to find prostitutes, their addresses, the names of brothels or individual prostitutes, descriptions of the same, and sometimes even prices for services rendered. Some guides came complete with detailed maps of sex-trade neighborhoods.

Cosmopolitan locations drew prostitutes like magnets, since cities had a constant, transient population of businessmen, soldiers, sailors, and others who were passing through. These men were often lonely – but more often horny – and eager to experience the excitement of a new city. The little field guides were very inexpensive, printed on cheap paper, and almost always disposed of before a client's departure from the city. Such books were not the sort of thing a man would want discovered in his luggage upon his return home. Therefore, few guidebooks to prostitution have survived. 

Importantly, most guides include two methods of dispensing information. First and foremost there was the moral disclaimer. In other words, the guides repeatedly and fervently warned and cautioned potential brothel customers to stay away from such neighborhoods for their own personal safety. And yet – on the same page – they provide detailed directions, addresses, names, and even descriptions of the women in a given house, just in case one should stumble into such areas "accidentally." Frequently, the phrase "[not] that anyone should ever go there" followed a vivid description of the destination. Second, do not expect to find graphic, sexual descriptions in the antiquated guides. The prostitutes were generally described in virtuous terms, such as "[she] is fresh from the country," or they objectify the female body as landscape – "[the] large, fair hills rising upon her chest" or "her fragrant, lush lower garden..." Perhaps people from earlier times better appreciated leaving some things to the imagination.


10 Flat-Out Bizarre Historical Field Guides To Prostitution,

London's Covent Garden Ladies

Full title: Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies: or, Man of pleasure's kalender, for the year 1788 (1789, 1790, 1793), etc.

18th-century London produced perhaps the cheekiest guide to local prostitution. Harris's List was a standby for years and was openly available for sale in shops and on the street for about two shillings. Generally around 120 women or their houses were included, with some added and some removed in newer editions.

The actual number of London prostitutes during the late 18th century was between six and seven thousand, so it was something of an honor (or, for those receiving an unfavorable review, a dishonor) to make the annual Harris's List.

The English guidebook is unusual among others of its kind in that it often lists prices for sexual services. Additionally, it generally offers full descriptions of the prostitutes, including details about their breasts and genitals. Often, though, these descriptions were couched in poetic or landscape language, such as the poem that appears describing "Miss B---nd of Frith Street":

“A rose-bud blows in either cheek, Round which the lily makes its bed;

Two dimples sweet good nature speak, And auburn ringlets deck her head.

Her heaving breasts pant keen desire, Their blushing summits own the flame;

Her eyes seem wishing something nigher,

Her hand conducts it to the same."


Australia's Floating Brothel

Great Britain only seriously started to settle Australia beginning in 1776, which also marked the start of the American Revolutionary War. For two centuries, the British had sent thousands upon thousands of their unwanted to American shores. Most of those people died within months, dropping dead in tobacco fields from overwork.

With America no longer a convenient dumping ground, the British began sending those they deemed "undesirable" to far away Australia. Those transported were overwhelmingly men. Within a couple of decades or so, it was clear that in order to properly establish a new colonial foothold, women would need to be sent, as wives, or at least as female company.

Of a sort.

And so, rather than a guidebook, a shipping list was created with the names and occupations of the women who were sent on the Lady Juliana to bring joy and comfort to the exiled British men. Not every woman who went aboard wanted to be known as a prostitute – though a good number of them had no problem with that – but researchers and historians have determined that pretty much all the women on board were professionals.

The party started long before the ship reached New South Wales. The crew, aware of the skill set of the women aboard, felt very comfortable approaching the women and most formed shipboard "marriages" for the duration. Once they reached their destination, the men greeted the women with enthusiasm. Some of the women married colonists, but many stuck to their stock and trade and did well for themselves. No advertising required!


"The Town" Where Anything Goes

London's prostitution community was so lively in the 18th and 19th centuries that it warranted not only several guidebooks, but also a regularly published journal called The Town. But this was no academic journal; in fact, it was considered scurrilous and outrageous. Therefore, it was also widely read. It made the claim of providing the latest information and literature of "the chancy, sportive world of sexual pleasure." Despite its shocking content, the editors posted the following disclaimer in every issue:

"We wish it to be clearly understood, that we are not the advocates of vice or profli-gacy. Our sketches are intended to serve a great moral purpose; and we shall endeav-our to say nothing to offend the most fastidious."

With the moralizing out of the way, the rest of the journal featured vivid sketches of the "women about town," articles on the justification of vice, cautionary tales of bad brothel experiences, and the best pubs and clubs for backstage assignations.


The Seraglio Directory

Published in 1859, Directory to the Seraglios in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and all the Principal Cities in the Union, was a one-stop shopping guide to all things sexually illicit on the East Coast of the US.

By the time this guidebook appeared, readers could note how far the New York sex district had spread during the 19th century. In just a few years, brothels of note had spread through SoHo from Mercer Street to include Crosby, Thompson, Greene, and Sullivan streets.

As with most other guides, brothels and houses were rated and reviewed. For example, Miss Mary Temple’s “elegantly fitted up mansion” at 112 Greene St. was a place for “Gentlemen on a visit to the city, in search of private apartments, to wile away a few hours in splendor and luxury.”

The publishers of the Seraglio Directory did not hesitate to warn away potential customers of "disreputable houses." Such was the case of a Mrs. Todd's house on Mercer Street. “The women at this house race the streets to pick up men and decoy them to this den where danger awaits them. Shun this resort for thieves.”


The Big Easy's Guide To Sin

New Orleans has a long and storied history of prostitution. Indeed, one of the more prominent areas dedicated to the world's oldest profession was called "Storyville." To navigate this, there were a wide variety of guidebooks and advertisements available, many of them called Blue Books. This was intentionally both satirical and insulting, as the high-class social registers in the United States were also called "Blue Books." The prostitution field guides were also known as "Guidebooks To Sin."

The introduction to the Blue Book explains to the wary, aroused traveler: "[anyone] who knows today from yesterday from yesterday will say that the Blue Book is the right book for people to have."

One proprietress, a Miss Lulu White gets described thusly: "[she] has made a feature of boarding none but the fairest of girls, those gifted with nature's best charms, and would, under no circumstances, have any but that class in her house." She sounds pretty trustworthy for the discerning consumer.


The Swell's Night Guide To London

The Swell's Night Guide To London predates Harris's List by about 30 years. It was a guide to city prostitutes of all sorts, and it also provided lists and descriptions of other entertainment such as pubs, bars, and gaming.

Where The Swell's Night Guide differed from others was in its descriptive language. The Guides – published annually like most of the others – were extremely blunt about what could be found at a given brothel and about the ways in which men regarded the women. 

For example, "at Mme Matileau’s establishments, in Soho and Kensington, nothing is allowed to get stale... you may have your meat dressed to your own liking... her flock is in prime condition, and always ready for sticking; when any of them are fried, they are turned out to grass... consequently the rot, bots, glanders, and other diseases incidental to cattle, are not generally known here." 


New York's Gentleman's Companion

Full title: A Vest Pocket Guide to Brothels in 19th-Century New York for Gentlemen on the Go.

On the go, indeed! New York City experienced shockingly rapid growth during the 19th century, which meant there were always plenty of transients making their way in, out, and through the town. Businessmen, sailors, immigrants, and plenty of curious local men all contributed to this movement. The guide covered a variety of entertainment options available to residents and visitors to the city, with the section dedicated to prostitution labeled, enticingly, "Temples of Love."

Surviving copies of this guide date to 1870, but, without a doubt, there were many earlier editions. Like others of its type, the authors spend a good deal of time telling cautionary tales about "bad neighborhoods" to avoid, while providing very specific address details just in case one accidentally stumbled into trouble. For example:

"But we point out the location of these places in order that the reader may know how to avoid them, and that he may not select one of them for his boarding house when he comes to the city. Our book, will, therefore, be like a warning voice to the unwary – like a buoy attached to a sunken rock, which warns the inexperienced mariner to sheer off, lest he should be wrecked on a dangerous and unknown coast.”

A house on Houston St., kept by a Miss Emma Benedict, received high praise.

“It is a first class house with eight lady boarders. Everything here is arranged in the first style, while the bewitching smiles of the fairy-like creatures who devote themselves to the services of Cupid are unrivaled by any of the fine ladies who walk Broadway in silks and satins new.”

The entire length of Greene St., according to the author, is “a complete sink of iniquity” and best avoided altogether.


Philadelphia's Guide To The Stranger

Full title: A Guide to the Stranger or Pocket Companion for THE FANCY, Containing a List of the Gay Houses and Ladies of Pleasure In The City Of Brotherly Love And Sisterly Affection.

This handy guide to Philadelphia's ladies of the evening was published in 1849, though earlier editions likely existed. Typical of such booklets, the reader was warned and admonished against visiting houses of ill-repute, while it made sure to state the precise address and exactly who lived there. Just so you'd know to stay away. Far away. (Not).

On offer at "Miss Sarah Turner's House, No. 2 Wood St., was everything calculated to make a man happy. The young ladies are beautiful and accomplished; they will at any time amuse you... none but gentlemen visit this Paradise of Love."

Not every house received such a good review, however. One of the worst was awarded to a certain Mrs. Hamilton, who resided on Locust Street: "This woman has been long enough at the accommodation of single gentlemen and their wives, that she has grown bald and toothless in the service. Beware of this house, stranger, as you would the sting of a viper."

But..."single gentlemen"... and their "wives?" 


A Complete Look At Shanghai Philandering

Shanghai is an international city that attracted a great many visitors for both business and pleasure. 19th-century guides to the “soiled doves” of Shanghai also used the sex-worker-as-landscape method of description employed in Europe.

Titles included Precious Mirror of Shanghai, A Sixty-Year History of the Shanghai Flower World, Pictures of the Hundred Beauties of Flowerland, and perhaps a favorite due to the frankness in its title, A Complete Look at Shanghai Philandering.

The guidebooks included biographies of famous prostitutes, anecdotes about famous customers, and the usual names, addresses, and descriptions of the women themselves. The guides also included exhaustive glossaries of the sex-trade language, detailed maps, and stern descriptions of expected behavior on the part of clients. No mention was ever made about how the women came to be prostitutes or if they were there on their own free will... or not.


"Prostitution Exposed!" America's Earliest Field Guide

Another typical, overly long, 19th-century title: 

Prostitution exposed; or A moral reform directory, : laying bare the lives, histories, residences, seductions, &c. of the most celebrated courtezans and ladies of pleasure of the city of New-York, : together with a description of the crime and its effects, : as also, of the houses of prostitution and their keepers, houses of assignation, their charges and conveniences, and other particulars interesting to the public.

Prostitution Exposed is the earliest known published American field guide on the subject. Published in 1839, it arrived just on the heels of the infamous murder of a high-end New York prostitute, so it contains all the warnings of and cautions against licentiousness, thieving whores, venereal diseases, and ruined reputations. The guide listed 266 brothels and more than 75 "houses of assignation." Descriptions of the houses, the women, and charge for services were also provided.

And yet, one of the first things readers observed was the comical author's nom de plume: A. Butt Ender.



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Mon, 03 Apr 2017 07:21:02 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/prostitution-field-guides-from-history/cheryl-adams-richkoff
<![CDATA[The Origins Of The KKK]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-kkk-started/nida-sea

When recalling the history of the KKK (AKA the Ku Klux Klan), people often think of them simply as a white supremacist hate group. However, the truth behind how the KKK started is a bit more complex. Back in 1865, a group known as the Ku Klux Klan began its resistance crusade against Reconstruction-era policies that would create equality for African American people. At first, KKK members primarily included simple folks, such as farmers, laborers, and ministers, but it eventually gained the support of more prominent members of white society, including police officials, presidents, and other famous Klan supporters.   

However, as the years passed and cultural tensions grew, group members strayed away from the KKK's original purpose, which ended up leading the group down a path of extreme violence and hate toward non-White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant races, religions, and lifestyles. In fact, over the years, the group witnessed three distinctive phases due to particular events that forced the Klan to disband, revive, and evolve. While the mission of the group is an awful display of ignorance and hate for human differences, the origin of the KKK is fascinating to understand. Take a leap back into the KKK's history and discover how the world’s largest and longest-living hate group was born. 


The Origins Of The KKK,

In The 1870s, They Just Kept Getting More Violent

During the latter half of 1870 and well into 1871, Klan members were terrorizing civilian minorities with heinous acts that included, burnings, beatings, lynchings, and murders, most of which were carried out at night. The state of South Carolina was a hot spot for Klan activity. In fact, the Klan carried out one of their most controversial crimes when, in South Carolina, they attacked a Union County jail and lynched several black prisoners.


The Southern States Swelled With KKK Members

By 1870, the racist mission of the KKK had reached almost every Southern state, and a lot of Southerners were on board with that mission. Dedicated members of the Klan established underground campaigns that were directed toward intimidating Republican leaders and the recent Reconstruction policies of the South, which concerned political and economic issues around equality and segregation. By 1920, there were more than four million KKK members nationwide. As the membership of the KKK grew, there was a serious increase in violent activities that targeted African American people as well as whites who accepted and stood for racial equality. In fact, at least 10% of the lawfully elected African American politicians suffered violence at the hands of the KKK, and seven were killed as a result.


White Supremacist Organizations Branched Off From The KKK

As 1970 pressed on, incidents of Klan violence became more isolated, thanks to increased government attention to the terroristic violence perpetuated by the group. Still, by the time the 1990s rolled around, the Klan had not disbanded. In fact, it had grown. However, the original Klan had now fragmented into over 40 white supremacist organizations, such as the Knights of the KKK and the Imperial Klans of America. To date, many KKK members remain active as groups of right-wing extremists and Neo-Nazis. Also, since the '90s, the KKK has grown into an estimated 5,000 members, with its largest memberships in states in the South and Midwest.


The First Grand Wizard Was A Slave Trader

In 1867, the Klan appointed former Confederate General and slave trader, Nathan Bedford Forrest, as the first Grand Wizard (leader) of the Klan. However, in 1868, upon witnessing the growing violence of the Klan, Bedford chose to disband the group formally as he felt they were no longer in line with their original mission. This did not stop the Klan or divert their delusional mission, however. In reality, the Klan has never had a clearly defined structure or hierarchy, so it's easy for a sect or group of it to continue despite formal disbanding. And that's exactly what members did after Forrest ended it in 1868. They didn't just continue, though; the KKK also upped the ante on their violent and malevolent tactics.


Lyndon Johnson Condemned The Klan As 'A Society Of Bigots'

The hate of the KKK only got worse as the 1960s turned into the 1970s. KKK members showed their hate and retaliation toward all activists of color and protesters who supported the Civil Rights Movement. Various Klan members were arrested and charged with a slew of horrific murders that included deadly beatings, mutilations, and shootings.  

By 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a televised speech condemning the Klan's horrendous activities and their existence, calling them "[a] hooded society of bigots." He also shamed them further by stating that the Klan would strike at night because their purpose could not stand the light of day. 


The Great Depression Forced A Depletion Of The Klan

During the early part of the 20th century, the Klan and its hostility toward other races and religions grew massively. In fact, its growth was fueled by a strong surge in immigration, as well as the fear of communist revolution, due to the Russian Bolshevik triumph of 1917.  

By the dawn of the 1920s, the Klan had successfully gained over four million members nationwide. In fact, in certain states where racial tension was at its highest, the Klan was able to attain the aid of the local law enforcement. However, during the 1930s, the Great Depression hit America. This depleted the membership ranks of the Klan, which had no choice but to temporarily disband. Never down and out, however, the Klan eventually reemerged for the third time in 1946.


The KKK Started As A Social Club For Ex-Confederate Soldiers

In 1865, six Confederate veteran soldiers officially formed a recreational group known as the Ku Klux Klan. Established in Pulaski, Tennessee, the Klan offered white southerners a way to channel their post-Civil War resentment towards Republicans who were aiming to establish racial equality. At first, this social club channeled its vitriolic hate into nighttime terror rides and other intimidation techniques aimed at dissuading white and black Republicans from working toward equality during the Reconstruction period. However, it wouldn't be long before intimidation turned into murder, and the US government would have to begin brainstorming ways to stem the group's hate and violence. 


The Civil Rights Movement Saw A Surge Of Deadly KKK Activity

During the 1960s, The Civil Rights Movement, which was focused on ending racial discrimination and segregation, was in full swing. Sadly, the KKK would rear their murderous hoods yet again and commit a string of heinous acts targeting black communities and activists.  

In fact, one most deplorable of these acts occurred in 1963 when three Klan members bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. During the tragedy, four innocent African American girls were killed. Although the perpetrators were later convicted and sentenced, this didn't stop other Klan members from bombing more black churches. By 1964, over 20 black churches had become victims of bomb attacks.


The Klan Was Revived By Protestant Nativists After An Initial Die Down

After the initiation of the Enforcement Acts, violent Klan activity slowed and appeared to diminish greatly. For one thing, white supremacy no longer had to be conducted in secret groups under cover of darkness anymore; with the end of Reconstruction and the passage of Jim Crow laws, it was the de jure structure of the nation. 

Still, by the end of 1876, covert white supremacy had once again reclaimed the Southern states. While illegal KKK activity could still be penalized, many Southerners remained loyal to the KKK's racist views. By 1915, Protestant nativists (who were also white supremacists) revived the Klan near Atlanta, Georgia. The second Klan revival was even worse than the initial iteration. Instead of opposing only the African American community, they were now against foreigners, Roman Catholics, Jews, and organized labor.


Congress Had To Create Legislation Specifically Targeting The KKK's Hate Crimes

As the KKK's violence grew, the federal government decided to organize a committee to monitor the Klan's unspeakable activities. As a result, by 1871, Klan-member activities were profiled as hate-related crimes. This provoked Congress to create policies that would curb the extent of the KKK's terroristic behavior.  

From this, three Enforcement Acts dubbed "The KKK Acts" were formed. Most significantly, these Acts would allow government officials to intervene and arrest Klan members to stop their malicious activities. In fact, under the direction of President Ulysses S. Grant, Federal troops were sent to suppress KKK violence in South Carolina where they successfully made over 600 KKK-related arrests.



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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:16:49 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-kkk-started/nida-sea
<![CDATA[10 Clever Ways Women Influenced Politics Before Getting The Right To Vote]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-women-in-history-influenced-politics/melissa-brinks

Women may not have always had the right to vote, but that doesn't mean they didn't wield any political influence prior to the 19th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which cracked down on racial discrimination in voting laws. When you don't have the right to vote, you have to resort to other means to make your voice heard and enact political change. These courageous women helped the suffrage movement and shaped the course of history before it was legal for them to do so.

The ways women influenced politics before they could vote vary. Some used more covert, tacit influence, and others exmployed outright protest and civil disobedience. Progress is made through the efforts of all of these women in politics, whether they played by the rules or fought tooth and nail for equality.

The history of women's rights in politics is part struggle for recognition, part trailblazing for the future. And when you don't have rights guaranteed to you, sometimes you have to get a little wily to get the job done. These women paved the way for future generations to influence politics on their own terms.


10 Clever Ways Women Influenced Politics Before Getting The Right To Vote,

Voting Without Rights Led To The Right To Vote

Women weren't allowed to vote in the US until 1920, but some of them did so anyway as a form of protest. 16 women voted in the presidential election of 1872 and were arrested for it, with prominent suffragette Susan B. Anthony eventually being put on trial for the crime. The trial was largely a sham – the judge made a ruling against Anthony without the jury, drawing ire even from those who opposed women's suffrage for it.

While 16 women voting is hardly enough to swing an election, their actions, and especially Anthony's courage, did much to influence public opinion. Seeing her denied a fair trial and carrying on in spite of it opened many peoples' eyes to the reality of how women were treated.


Art And Fiction Enabled Women To Inspire Change

People are suckers for good stories, even when said stories are activism in disguise. Though Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin popularized many of the most pervasive stereotypes about black people in American culture and has been rightly criticized for it, the novel was also a poignant anti-slavery work that galvanized abolitionist thinking among the American people. Slavery was often thought of as a Southern problem, and Stowe's novel brought a human component to the plight of the very real people suffering as slaves.

Stowe's novel has not stood the test of time because of its harmful stereotyping, but, in its day, it was credited with kickstarting the Civil War, including the legend that Abraham Lincoln, on meeting Stowe, remarked, "[so] this is the little lady who started this great war."


Suffragettes Turned Everyday Objects Into Activist Billboards

When you can't vote, you have to resort to other methods of inserting your voice into the conversation. Lucy Stone, a suffragette and abolitionist, used a wagon. After finding the abandoned wagon in her barn, Stone and other suffragettes painted it with slogans and information that provided an eye-catching backdrop to their normal demonstrations.

While it might seem like just a prop compared to their more important face-to-face activism, it served the same purpose that many billboard advertisements do. Suffragettes transported flyers and other information back and forth in this wagon, which served as an additional conversation starter and reminder that women were seeking equal rights. Even if the wagon itself didn't convert anybody to the suffragette mindset, it got people talking, and talking is just one of many steps to action.


Hunger Strikes And Force Feeding Attracted Public Attention

In order to get press coverage, you sometimes have to resort to drastic measures. That's what Marion Wallace Dunlop did, inspiring many other women who would come after her with her use of her body as a political tactic. Hunger strikes drew attention, but, even more importantly, the practice of force-feeding prisoners who were on hunger strikes drew even more coverage for its cruelty.

By showing how terribly the women were treated in prison, newspapers inadvertently spread sympathy and support for the suffragettes. Being arrested for the cause was already a dangerous move, but figures like Alice Paul and Marion Wallace Dunlop took it even further, with their hunger strikes drawing worldwide attention to the plight of women.


Sex Strikes Offered A Titillating Option For Women To Exert Political Influence

Though Aristophanes' comedy Lysistrata is probably fiction, it has served as a model for women who want to exert political power without having the right to vote more than once. How? Through a sex strike.

Sex strikes, such as the one in Lysistrata, encourage women to take a stand by refusing to have sex with their husbands until desired actions are taken. In the case of Aristophanes' play, the women of Athens seize the treasury and refuse sex until the men end the Peloponnesian War. In real life, sex strikers are believed to have denied their husbands sex to punish them for widespread bad behavior, while some people have even suggested that sex strikes can be credited with forming civilization as we know it. Because the method of the strike borders on NSFW, it's impossible to know how many times it's been used as a proxy for women in politics.


Investigative Journalism Raised Awareness

When you can't participate in politics, you have to find other ways to raise awareness. For Ida B. Wells, that way was investigative journalism. Wells, who was born as a slave, dedicated her life to fighting for justice for black people, including traveling the South collecting information on lynchings to report to the public.

Wells even traveled overseas to raise awareness around the pervasive racism in the US. She founded several organizations for civil rights, including participating in the founding of the NAACP, though she later stepped away. Wells's tireless work to expose the treatment of black people, as well as her reluctance to let votes for white women distract from the cause of votes for all made her a vital figure in the fight for civil rights.


Saying "I Don't" To Marriage Was A Tactic Not For The Faint Of Heart

Women were often regarded as lesser citizens before they got the right to vote, with many men seeing them as property rather than as human beings. But as a sort of bargaining chip, women could wield a unique kind of power by refusing to marry somebody unless they voted in favor of women's rights.

While the attitudes around marriage were changing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women were still considered more property than partner. By leveraging their status as valuable, whether for a dowry or other things they might have to offer, women could swing the men in their lives to vote for a better life for them.


Sometimes Using A Hatchet Was Necessary In Order To Get Attention

While conversation may be the preferred method of affecting change, sometimes those in power aren't willing to listen. To get the attention of the government, people like Carrie Nation, a prominent Prohibitionist, sometimes had to get destructive.

Nation's preferred method of getting attention was with a hatchet. She famously attacked bars with her favorite tool, even selling souvenirs to raise funds for more work. Though Prohibition was ultimately a failure, it was an important part of many women's movements because so much of a woman's life was dependent on her husband – when Nation's husband was killed by their alcoholic son, she was left alone to care for herself and her other child. She didn't live to see Prohibition enacted but was still an important part of the movement, which also included women's suffrage.


Burning Slogans Into Golf Courses Got The Message Across

Protest doesn't always look like a mass crowd in formation. Instead, some suffragettes acted in small groups to produce big change, and they did so through some attacks on golf courses in England. These attacks ranged from interrupting games to demand change from the rich men that golfed there to disfiguring the green with acid, sometimes burning in slogans like "Votes For Women" so nobody could ignore their message.

While some claim that efforts like this damage the cause, they're also one of the most important means of gaining attention. Like it or not, the actions of these women are part of the movement, showing the men who frequented these courses that they would not be ignored.


Parades And Massive Crowds Proved Suffrage Was Popular

Public protest is one of the most important forms of dissent at an activist's disposal. Not only does it draw attention to a cause, but it also shows the sheer number of people who share an individual's views. It's easy to write one or two women asking for the vote off, but less so when it's 13,000 women, the number Alice Paul was able to raise to picket the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

This protest, alongside hunger strikes, Ida B. Wells's actions, and other activism, showed that suffragettes took the cause seriously enough to organize around it. Prior to this demonstration, many people believed that women were too flighty to participate in serious change, and this march showed them otherwise.



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Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:42:21 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/how-women-in-history-influenced-politics/melissa-brinks
<![CDATA[The 13 Most Formidable Enemies The Roman Empire Ever Faced]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/ancient-roman-rebels/carly-silver

Sure, there were lots of rebels in ancient Rome (Spartacus, anyone?), but the most fascinating people the Romans fought were leaders of rival foreign nations. These weren't just ancient Roman rebels, but monarchs, chieftains, and genius generals in their own right. 

The Senate might have thought of some of these rulers as ancient Romans who rebelled, but the truth, more often than not, was that these individuals fought to achieve or keep their people independent from Roman conquest. Take, for example, Boudica, the famed British queen who slaughtered invading Romans and destroyed London.

And then there were Rome's rivals for control of trade, like Carthage. You might know Hannibal as a cannibal, but before he was a Lecter, he was a genius general who brought a ton of elephants into Italy to slaughter Romans. Hardly rebels from ancient Rome, but a kick-ass ruler in his own right.


The 13 Most Formidable Enemies The Roman Empire Ever Faced,

Attila the Hun

Attila, leader of the Hun confederation of nomadic tribes in Eastern Europe-Asia, was known as "the Scourge of Rome" for the destruction he brought on the late Roman Empire. The tribes began moving westward into the Roman Empire in the mid-fifth century CE, forcing Rome to bribe them in gold so they wouldn't attack. The amount of money required to keep the tribes at bay went up each year, and Attila eventually broke one of his treaties, invading and sacking Roman lands in the 450s.

Attila was pretty ambitious - he murdered his brother to get the throne and headed to Gaul to win an imperial princess as his wife - but he was a rather humble man. A lot of his men accumulated riches as he ravaged the lands Rome conquered centuries before; he himself took a lot of ladies as his own... to his downfall. Attila died of a nasty nosebleed in 453 after one hell of a wedding night.


Boudica

statue of the British queen Boudica stands near the Houses of Parliament, but the famed monarch destroyed London in her anti-Roman rebellion. She was queen of the Iceni tribe in southeastern Britain, wife of King Prasutagus, who allied himself with the Romans when they invaded in 43 CE.

When Prasutagus died, the Romans decided Boudica wouldn't stay in power, since her hubby had willed his kingdom to the emperor and the king's own daughters. The Romans came to Iceni land; according to one account, they raped Boudica and her daughters, then stole Iceni noblemen's estates and turned the tribesmen into servants.

Boudica and the Iceni, along with other tribes, revolted against the Romans in 60-61. They thrashed the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the ancient cities of Colchester, London, and St. Albans before a Roman army finally defeated them. Boudica may have poisoned herself or died in battle as the Romans reestablished dominion over Britain.


Cleopatra

Cleopatra VII, the final pharaoh of Egypt's Ptolemaic Dynasty, had a long, complicated relationship with Rome. Her dad, Ptolemy XII, was ousted from power, but Roman allies restored him to power. So when Cleo herself came to the throne, she knew to court the most powerful empire in the Mediterranean.

First, she made Julius Caesar fall for her - or convinced him to at least have sex with her, since they had a bouncing baby boy together. Caesar killed her brother-husband and helped her secure her power; Cleo later followed him to Rome (talk about peer pressure). After his death, she took up with his number one supporter, Mark Antony, who gave her three kids. 

Cleopatra and Mark Antony opposed Caesar's heir/great-nephew, Octavian, who seized power in Rome. The conflict came to a head at the Battle of Actium on September 2, 31 BCE, after which Octavian became Rome's head honcho; he eventually became the first emperor, Augustus.


Eunus

A Syrian slave-turned-rebel, Eunus was a rebel for the ages. He was enslaved in Sicily in the second century BCE, but didn't stay down for long, organizing 70,000 other slaves into an army along with fellow slave-rebel Cleon. Eunus had a way about him; his charisma led people to believe he was a magician or prophet. He took the city of Enna and turned himself into a king named Antiochus, but a few short years later, a Roman consul squashed his rebellion by 132 BCE and put Eunus in prison.


Hannibal

In the third century BCE, the two greatest powers of the Mediterranean basin - Rome and Carthage - squared off in three separate Punic Wars. The soldiers of Carthage, located in north Africa, were led in battle by the brilliant general Hannibal. After Rome won the First Punic War, Hannibal consolidated power in Carthage's colonies in Iberia and went HAM on one of Rome's Spanish towns, kicking off the Second Punic War.

Hannibal got a giant force together, including almost 40 war elephants, and marched across the Alps into Italy. He eventually won a stunning victory at Cannae against the Roman legions, but was forced to go home after the Romans invaded Carthage itself. The Roman general Scipio won another big battle near Carthage, leaving the Carthaginians with only their North African lands....

Hannibal wasn't into it, but he was forced into exile and hung out with the Syrians, then the people of Pergamum in Asia Minor (where he threw buckets of snakes at his enemies). Eventually, Hannibal got super-paranoid and, afraid his enemies were coming for him, poisoned himself where he was hanging out in Turkey.


Jugurtha

Jugurtha, prince of Numidia in north Africa, was the son of a famous king who worked with Rome. Jugurtha slowly but surely eliminated every rival to his throne, all while he supported the Romans in battle against the Carthaginians, learned Latin, and became BFFs with senators. Eventually, relations went sour, though, when Jugurtha killed some Italian merchants, and the Romans went to war against him around 111 BCE.

Rome didn't exactly acquit itself well, and the two lands made a treaty, which didn't last long after Jugurtha offed another rival to his throne. Marius, a seven-time Roman consul (and Caesar's uncle by marriage), invaded Numidia and eventually beat Jugurtha with the help of the king of nearby Mauretania. In 105 BCE, Marius brought Jugurtha home and paraded him through Rome in a military triumph; he was dead not long after.


Mithridates VI of Pontus

Best known for creating poisons and antidotes in his Black Sea kingdom, King Mithridates VI of Pontus battled against Rome for control of most of Asia Minor. He was Rome's last main challenger in the East for centuries, but the conflict burned hot: At one point, he slaughtered upwards of 80,000 Romans who lived in Asia Minor. The Romans waged three Mithridatic Wars against this monarch, sparked in part by Mithridates's slow but steady conquest of much of the lands making up modern Turkey. 

The First Mithridatic War (89-85 BCE) ended in Mithridates's defeat by future dictator Sulla, while the Romans raided his territories to provoke the Second Mithridatic War (83-81 BCE). The third war lasted the longest (73-63 BCE), beginning after Romans occupied Bithynia, which Mithridates thought of as his; eventually, he fled and Romans tracked him down. Allegedly, unable to poison himself because he'd consumed so many toxins and antidotes, he made his bodyguard kill him with a sword.


Vercingetorix

Julius Caesar almost met his match in Vercingetorix of Gaul. Caesar invaded what is now France/Germany in 58 BCE, which he famously chronicled in his memoir The Gallic Wars. The Celtic tribes there didn't take his genocide lightly. Rebellions bubbled for several years; a bunch of Gallic tribes united and made Vercintegorix of the Arverni their head warrior. This organized military action made Caesar come across the Cisalpine Alps to head off the Celts.

Several years of raids and minor battles climaxed in late 52 BCE, when Caesar and the Gauls met at Alesia. The Romans besieged the epic fortifications surrounding this fortress; three weeks later, Vercingetorix and his supporters were pretty much devoid of food or supplies. Caesar broke the Gallic forces and took Vercingetorix back to Rome with him in chains; the Gallic chieftain died there years later.


Viriatus

Meet Viriatus. A Spaniard, he led a rebellion against invading Romans, who conquered parts of Iberia throughout the second century BCE. In 151 BCE, the people of the Lusitania region tried to negotiate with Rome during endless attacks; the regional Roman leader mercilessly slaughtered the Lusitanians instead. According to legend, one of the survivors was a dude named Viriatus (a nickname), who wanted revenge.

A few years later, Viriatus led the surviving Lusitanian forces against the Romans, butchering their leader and thousands of men in one battle. Over the course of nearly a decade, Viriatus and his men became the scourge of the Romans in Spain, especially when they pretended they were about to run away, then waged a surprise counter attack. The locals' guerilla warfare and knowledge of Iberian terrain were effective tools against the Romans. But Viriatus couldn't keep it up forever; he made a treaty with Rome and three of his own men betrayed and killed him. 


Zenobia

One of the great cities of ancient Syria was the trade center of Palmyra. Sadly destroyed in large part by ISIS, it also played host to the great Arab queen Zenobia, who rebelled against Roman tyranny. First acting as regent to her kid in the third century CE, Zenobia eventually seized power on her own. Although her hubby was once a Roman client king, Zenobia struck out on her own and opposed the Romans. She claimed to be descended from none other than Cleopatra VII, a political lightning rod.

Zenobia conquered Egypt (her ancestral homeland?) in 269 and moved into Asia Minor. The Roman emperor Aurelian got in her way two years later, taking over the key cities of modern Ankara and Emesa in Syria. Aurelian and Zenobia - who led her own troops into battle - exchanged letters, but she remained defiant (after all, she declared herself empress, so she had to live up to the title). Sadly, Palmyra fell, too, and Aurelian captured Zenobia, who either was part of his imperial triumph in 274 in Rome or starved herself to death.



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Tue, 15 Nov 2016 02:22:55 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/ancient-roman-rebels/carly-silver
<![CDATA[13 Extremely Rare Historical Artifacts Discovered In Pawn Shops]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-objects-found-in-pawn-shops/brent-sprecher

Pawn shops have always had the rather unsavory reputation of being places where unscrupulous store owners take advantage of desperate people in need of quick cash or as quasi-legal fronts for the sale of stolen goods. It hasn't helped that they are typically dimly lit, over-stuffed with an assortment of disparate items, and tend to have dangerous weapons on display. Thanks to popular reality shows that feature pawn shop owners and their customers – and due to the sluggish economy, which has forced record numbers of people to look for alternative sources of cash – pawn shops are experiencing something of a cultural resurgence.

It's not just the cash-strapped who are venturing into pawn shops today, either. Those looking to get rich have added pawn shops to their treasure-seeking circuits of flea markets and swap meets. Sure, you could go diving in the open ocean, dig around in dirty construction sites, or risk your life in abandoned properties looking for treasure, but why not just take a walk down to your local pawn shop, where you might find a historical object sitting on the shelf between kitschy tchotchkes. And found they have been; from archaeological rarities to priceless artifacts, pawn shop customers (and the FBI!) have come across all kinds of crazy historical objects in pawn shops. 


13 Extremely Rare Historical Artifacts Discovered In Pawn Shops,

Museum's Stolen WWI Gas Mask

For nearly a century, curators of the Wyoming State Museum were searching for a World War I-era German gas mask originally owned by US Army Sgt. Robert O. Pennewell, who donated the item to the museum. The gas mask went missing almost immediately upon being added to the museum's collection, along with several other items that disappeared while they were either on display or in storage in the building in the 1920s.

Thanks to the Internet, officials were finally able to track down the stolen object when a pawn shop owner from Rapid City, South Dakota, listed it for sale on eBay. Chris Johnson, the owner of the shop, acquired the gas mask from a man who had apparently owned it for many years and valued it at $300.

Johnson said that he got a "sinking feeling" after finding out the item was stolen, but said that he was happy to donate the mask to the Cheyenne museum, adding that "you can't put a price tag" on doing the right thing like sending a historical object "back to the rightful owners."


Archaeological Artifacts Smuggled Out Of Panama

Though he apparently thought of himself as an "Indiana Jones type," the FBI did not have the same opinion of John Shaw, a former teacher and pawn shop owner who smuggled countless pieces of pre-Columbian pottery and gold out of Panama during the 1980s. At the time, Shaw was teaching at a US military base in Panama and used his off time to unearth extremely rare and culturally significant items from an unknown site with his Panamanian wife, Fatima.

Back in the States, Shaw and Fatima sold items at their pawn shop in Klamath Falls, OR, at flea markets, and on the Internet. Despite Shaw's tendency to boast, no one discovered the smuggled loot until years after Shaw's death, when Fatima gave most of the items to an ex-boyfriend as collateral for a loan. The ex-boyfriend contacted the FBI, and Fatima handed over the stash without incident.

In a 2009 ceremony at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, the US government formally handed over the artifacts to the Panamanian government. Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI's art-theft program, commented on Shaw's boasts, saying, "[this] is not an Indiana Jones story. The theft strips Panamanians of their cultural heritage."


Aaron Burr's Letters

A customer at a Vero Beach, Florida, pawn shop scored two pieces of American history when he purchased two letters signed by one of the most controversial politicians in American history: Aaron Burr. Burr was the Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson and became notorious for killing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Burr was not charged for Hamilton's murder, but he was charged with treason in 1807 and lived the rest of his life in obscurity.

The letters were passed down through the generations by the Abbott family, who were clients of Burr's during his time as a lawyer. They were kept in "dime store frames to detract from their value" in the home of Leslie and Robert Abbott, but that didn't seem to fool the thief who stole them – and other items – and pawned them for $300. They were purchased only a few days later and, though police recovered many of the Abbotts's items, the Burr letters were never recovered.


Antique Arm Bands Used As Both Money And Protection

In the 1930s, one of the "largest private collections of unusual money" belonged to Howard D. Gibbs of Pittsburgh, PA. Gibbs's collection was so large and varied that it was once featured in Popular Science Magazine. Gibbs traveled far and wide to collect his unusual forms of wealth, but one of his greatest finds came from a pawn shop in Chicago, IL, where he purchased three antique Kurdish "coins" from the broker.

The Kurdish people – now predominantly living in portions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey – have gained and lost territory for centuries. Because of their history of invasions and relocations, Kurdish "money" took a different form than other cultures' money. Instead of gold and silver coins or bars, Kurds fashioned their precious metals into bands, which they would wear on their arms if they had to pick up and move in a hurry. These arm bands were also used for defense from sword slashes and arrow strikes. 


A Priceless Hoard Of Gold, Precious Stones, And Jewelry

Construction work is a difficult job with few perks. Long hours and body aches are about the most that can be expected, especially for workers in London in 1912. It's not too surprising then that when a crew with pickaxes demolishing a tenement house near St. Paul's Cathedral found a box filled with gold, silver, precious stones, and jewelry, they didn't think twice about stuffing their pockets with the loot. After work, the crew took their stash to a local pawn shop owner named George Fabian Lawrence to unload the booty.

As it turns out, Lawrence happened to also be the inspector of excavations for the London Museum, and he recognized the hoard of 400 items as rare and valuable artifacts dating to the late-16th and early-17th centuries. Among the gold, diamonds, and other jewels, was an emerald-studded salamander, a bejeweled perfume bottle, and a Swiss watch set in a giant piece of Columbian emerald. The items, now called the Cheapside Hoard, are still on display at the Museum of London and considered quite "unique in the world."


The First Latin American Nobel Peace Prize

Carlos Saavedra Lamas of Argentina was the first ever Latin American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize when he was awarded the prestigious medal in 1936 for his role in brokering peace between Paraguay and Bolivia and ending the Chaco War. The medal no doubt held a place of honor in Lamas's home during his life, but it "fell into darkness" following his death.

The rare historical medal was considered lost forever until an American collector heard that it was up for sale in a South American pawn shop. The shop owner had purchased the medal for its value in gold bullion – a 23-karat medal weighs 222.4 grams and was worth more than $9,000 at the time – but knew that it was worth more for its historical value and saved it from being melted down.

Ute Wartenberg, executive director of the American Numismatic Society, called the find "an incredible rarity" and said, "I can't think of many public collections that have a Nobel Prize, never mind a Nobel Peace Prize medal."


John F. Kennedy's Oval Office Humidor

To honor John F. Kennedy on his inauguration day, Milton Berle had Alfred Dunhill of London create a unique walnut box for the future president, complete with a small plaque that reads: "To J.F.K. Good Health--Good Smoking. Milton Berle, 1/20/61." The box cost Berle between $800 and $1,000 at the time, which would be nearly $8,000 today.

The humidor was kept on Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office during his time as President and somehow ended up in the hands of a private collector after his death. The humidor was sold to a pawn shop in Las Vegas for $60,000, which was well below the seller's asking price. The seller got an even worse deal than he thought, however, because the humidor was auctioned off at Sotheby's for $575,000 in 1996 and is now in the collection of the publisher of Cigar Aficionado magazine. 


Stolen Artwork From One Of America's Greatest Artists

You don't usually go browsing in a pawn shop looking to find fine art. Well, maybe you do if you go shop at a Beverly Hills pawn shop. That's where four stolen oil-on-canvas paintings by N.C. Wyeth, considered one of the greatest American illustrators and painters, were discovered by a Beverly Hills Police Detective Specialist in a high-end pawn shop in 2015. The paintings are collectively valued at between $1 million and $2 million.

In total, six paintings by Wyeth were stolen from the private art collection of a Portland, Maine, businessman in 2013. Because of the value and importance of the paintings, the theft was considered "the most significant theft in the history of [Maine]," and the FBI in Los Angeles was notified to be on the lookout for them.

Detective Specialist Michelle Fieler discovered the paintings were at the high-end Dina Collection pawn shop while going through thousands of pawn slips from the 74 pawn shops in Beverly Hills. The remaining two paintings were not immediately recovered, so the FBI offered a $20,000 reward for tips leading to their recovery. They were later found in Boston. 


Reggae Legend Peter Tosh's Grammy Award

Even the casual fan of reggae music knows the name Peter Tosh. For 11 years, from 1963-1974, Tosh was one of the core members of The Wailers, alongside Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley. Tosh eventually went solo, and his 1976 track, "Legalize It," became a marijuana legalization anthem that still resonates today. He was murdered in his home in 1987 and posthumously won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording for his album No Nuclear War.

In 2016, Tosh's Grammy was found sitting in the storefront window of a Boston pawn shop. The priceless piece of music history had apparently been given as collateral on a loan by a Tosh family member. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences forbids the sale of Grammy Awards, so the pawn shop owner is hoping that the increased sale of items from curious fans taking selfies with the award will make up for any potential losses for receiving it.


Pre-Historic Wooly Mammoth Fossil

Most people who walk into a pawn shop to take out a short-term loan against their collateral bring with them gold, jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, or firearms. But the customer that walked into Nathan Segal's Virginia pawn shop in 1996 looking to borrow $600 brought in something far rarer as collateral: the fossilized tooth of a wooly mammoth, which could be tens or even hundreds of thousands of years old.

The customer never returned for the tooth, but don't expect to buy the unique piece of pre-history for yourself because Segal's not selling it: "Things like this, I just have to keep for myself."



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Fri, 07 Apr 2017 05:03:20 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-objects-found-in-pawn-shops/brent-sprecher
<![CDATA[23 History-Filled Bars And Pubs Where Famous Writers Hung Out]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/pictures-of-old-bars-where-writers-hung-out/lyra-radford

Hanging out in bars where writers hung out has become a popular trend over the years. People (especially aspiring writers) want to sit where Kerouac sat, drink what Lord Byron drank, and then pass out like Dylan Thomas. There are even organized literary pub crawls in some areas for those who want to make a whole Hemingway-style night of it.

Famous writers' favorite drinks range from straight whiskey to frozen daiquiris, and it’s no secret that some of the greatest writers have been inspired while socializing or people watching in a pub. Many have even penned their best works while completely (or mostly intoxicated), hunkered down at a table in one of the many famous literary pubs across the world. This list contains some of the most popular bars, pubs, and cafes where famous writers were known to frequent.  


23 History-Filled Bars And Pubs Where Famous Writers Hung Out,

Charles Bukowski & The Frolic Room (Los Angeles, California)

The once ultra-exclusive speakeasy, The Frolic Room, which sits on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, was a favorite haunt of none other than LA's own Charles Bukowski. And if Chuck B. doesn't give it enough of an aura for you, it's also rumored to be the last stop of Elizabeth Stewart, AKA the Black Dahlia. Now, the bar is a great, nostalgia-inducing dive from a bygone era.


Dorothy Parker & Blue Bar At The Algonquin (New York, New York)

The 'Algonquin Round Table’ was a group of journalists, actors, and writers who met up at the historic Algonquin Hotel’s Blue Bar in Midtown Manhattan. Notable names such as Dorothy Parker, Heywood Broun, George S. Kauffman, Robert Benchley, and founder of The New Yorker magazine, Harold Ross, all graced the Blue Bar’s tables throughout the 1920s.


Ernest Hemingway & El Floridita (Havana, Cuba)

Ernest Hemingway frequented many bars throughout his lifetime. His favorite haunt while he lived in Cuba was El Floridita. His favorite drink was their signature frozen Daiquiri, and Hemingway helped immortalize the bar through his writing. The bar later erected a life-sized bronze statue of Hemingway in addition to dedicating a bar stool to him.


Dylan Thomas & White Horse Tavern (New York, New York)

The White Horse Tavern opened its doors back in 1880, and among the notable patrons were Anais Nin, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, James Baldwin, and the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

The White Horse became most famously known as the last place Dylan Thomas had a drink. It was November of 1953 when Thomas (allegedly) threw back 18 shots of whiskey, collapsed on the sidewalk, and ended up being taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he later died. 


Gertrude Stein & La Rotonde (Paris, France)

Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, and good ol' Ernest Hemingway all frequented La Rotonde in Paris, France.

According to Hemingway's narrator in The Sun Also Rises, Jake Barnes: “No matter what cafe in Montparnasse you ask a taxi-driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde.”


O'Henry & Pete's Tavern (Flatiron, New York)

A classic New York watering hole, Pete's Tavern, opened up back in 1864 and was originally called Healy's. It became a second home to the American author O'Henry (AKA William Sydney Porter) and was even in one of his short stories.


Frank McCourt & Old Town Bar And Restaurant (New York, New York)

Award-winning novelists, essayists, journalists, poets, and some of the greatest minds of contemporary writing have been found partying their cares away at the Old Town Bar in New York City. Nick Hornby, Billy Collins, Frank McCourt, Seamus Heaney, and Pete Hamill have all frequented the little bar and have left signed book jackets all over the walls to prove it.


Albert Camus & Les Deux Magots (Paris, France)

Les Deux Magots of Paris, France played host to the French literary scene in the early 20th century. Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, and (when not drinking over at La Rotonde) Ernest Hemingway all got their drink on at Les Deux Magots. 


C.S. Lewis & The Eagle And Child (Oxford, England)

The Eagle and Child dates back to the mid-17th century and was the official meeting place of the writing group called 'The Inklings.' From 1933 into the early 1950s, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the rest of their group met in a private lounge within the bar called the Rabbit Room to critique each other’s manuscripts.


James Joyce & Kennedy’s (Dublin, Ireland)

Samuel Beckett and James Joyce were known to drink at Kennedy’s in Dublin, Ireland. Before it was a bar, it was also a grocery store, and, prior to his success as a writer, a young Oscar Wilde actually worked there as a stock boy.



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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:12:55 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/pictures-of-old-bars-where-writers-hung-out/lyra-radford
<![CDATA[Tragic Ways The Black Death Put A Curse On The Jews]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-black-death-led-to-persecution-of-jews/jen-jeffers

The Dark Ages were called such for good reason. Not only was the world filled with extreme ignorance and religious anxiety, but the nascent state of the medical world also contributed greatly to the amount of general sickness, pain, and death faced by the masses; the mystifying Black Death causes were in the forefront of everyone's minds, to boot. As a result, it remains one of the most fascinating periods in history - a time when humans were straining to pull themselves from the muck of blindness and into the light of understanding. In this moment, too, some of the explanations that folks came up with to explain phenomena that they didn't understand (like a pandemic) were downright disturbing. The idea that European Jews were to blame for the bubonic plague is one of these frighteningly misguided lines of medical reasoning.

To be fair, one of the lowest points in medieval history occurred in the mid-14th century when the lethal bubonic plague unleashed itself on the populace, wiping out up to 60% of Europe's total population. Fondly referred to as the Black Death, this pandemic was one of the most devastating in human history, beginning in Eurasia, spreading through the Mediterranean, and eventually peaking in Europe between the years 1346–1353. Ripping through vast numbers of people in a short time, the bubonic plague eventually snuffed out an estimated 200 million people.

Aside from human life, the sickness would also severely damage the tenuous state of the European Jews - who had been struggling to overcome centuries of persecution - and lead to widespread violence. As the frightening hand of death swept across the world, it also removed any veneer of religious tolerance and exposed the true sickness within - a disease that many say followed the Jews through the Reformation and into the modern world. 


Tragic Ways The Black Death Put A Curse On The Jews,

People Whipped Themselves Bloody To Find Forgiveness

As a result of the sickness, many folks took to self-flagellation as a way to appease the Christian God who had clearly forsaken them. By using heavy leather straps studded with sharp metal to whip themselves, these contrite souls hoped to bring about the Lord's forgiveness. Black Death was considered retribution for the sins of humans, like greed, blasphemy, heresy, fornication, and worldliness, and intense penitence was seen as a potential salve. But while the good people of Europe beat themselves senseless as a method of healing, there was an even more pervasive evil that began to take root - the idea that non-Christian Jews were the ones who were truly to blame for the whole affair. In an effort to cope with the terror and uncertainty, people lashed out at their neighbors, while others fretted about the condition of their souls, and the Jews became caught in the middle.


If The Jews Killed Christ, SoThey Probably Did This Too...

While the connection between Jews and the plague may seem tenuous at best to modern eyes, the Biblical interpretation of their role in Christ's death was still fresh in the medieval mind, especially for the flagellants who believed them to be a scourge on the Christian sensibility. There was no concrete or logical reason behind these beliefs, but as you know, that makes little difference in zealots' reasoning. Fueled by hundreds of years of prejudice and persecution, a simple rumor in 1348 was enough to spark a major blame game, where Jews were suspected of secretly poisoning water sources and "corrupting" the air somehow. As a result, the whole world rose up against them, all congregating around the notion that they alone were the reason behind the plague's horrific hold.


The Blame Game Began With The Question: Why Did God Let This Happen?

The outbreak of plague in 1348 brought up a lot of issues for European society, including ones of morality, as people struggled to understand what was happening. They blamed the outbreak on all sort of things - scandalous dress, human depravity, Christian dissension, and of course, the wrath of God. As the disease spread and brutally snuffed out the innocent, people began to cling even more desperately to their religious beliefs as a way to explain the misfortune. Why would God allow this to happen?

Some said the pestilence was the result of widespread corruption in the church, while others suggested it was punishment for the divisiveness of England and France during the Hundred Years' War. After all, Europe had been experiencing infighting for as long as anyone could remember, and massacres, pillaging, and destruction were simply the way of the land. Some saw the plague as the great equalizer that sought to put everyone back on the same level, even if it was subterranean. Others said the Black Death was punishment for the Christians because they did not continue with the Crusades and succeed in pushing the Muslim enemy from the Holy Land. The Crusades of the 14th century had failed - the Muslims still lived in Palestine - and the plague had arrived to remind everyone of this glaring defeat.


The Jews Were Tortured Into False Confessions Of Poisoning The Water

At the time, the Count of Savoy was a rash crusader, and he was very quick to round up the Jews - both men and women - to torture them in confession. Through these actions, he firmly believed he might unlock the secrets behind the Black Death and learn the dark secrets the Jews were obviously hiding. As is often the case with brutal torture, many confessions eventually spilled out, fueling the Christian fire even more. The most notable admissions were detailed and specific, naming the wells, cisterns, and springs in Venice and other areas that had been systematically poisoned, suggesting a dark network of Jewish corruption.

But even though the process of torture resulted in confessions, it could not explain why the "poison" was so contagious or why the Jews themselves were also dying in vast numbers. But truth be told, the Jews weren't dying as readily as the Christians, primarily because their religious laws focused on sanitary practices like washing hands - especially while eating - and bathing each week for the Sabbath.


Many Blamed The Jews As A Way To Their Escape Debt

Once Jewish 'confessions' became known and people's suspicions were confirmed, Christians began to round up the Jews and murder them in cold blood. In the town of Basel, Switzerland, Jews were forced into a large wooden structure specifically built to be set on fire, while in Strasbourg, Germany they were burned in the streets. On Valentine's Day in 1349, 2,000 Jews faced conflagration, while others accepted baptism to save their own lives. The Jewish communities of Mainz and Cologne were completely wiped out. Children were torn from their parents while on the pyre and converted on the spot.

And one of the most glaring benefits of the massacre was financial because, once the Jews were gone, any property or possession they once had was divided among the Christians, and all previous debts were forgotten. In that way, many people jumped on the anti-Jew bandwagon as a way to further their financial agenda, not to fight the evil behind the Black Death.


The Plague Was Gruesome Enough To Make Anyone A Little Crazy

The plague was, indeed, one of the most horrific and gruesome diseases ever to strike the planet. First marked by flu-like symptoms, the Black Death was almost as nefarious as its name. A high fever, chills, and headache would soon lead to black welts and bulges on the skin called buboes, appearing mostly in the lymph node areas of the groin and armpits. Blood and pus would seep from these egg-sized boils, both of which were highly contagious and able to strike a healthy person with very little contact. As the buboes swelled painfully, the stomach flu would ensue, causing the person to suffer from extreme muscle cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. These grim symptoms were also accompanied by a racking cough, heavy breathing, skin decay, and delirium, all leading to agonizing death in most cases. In some ways, given the lack of medical understanding of the horrific phenomenon, it's little wonder that people thrashed in the dark for outlandish explanations for it.


Blaming The Jews Gave Christian Society A Feeling Of Control In An Uncontrollable Time

Rather than seeing their predicament as a medical quandary or a challenge to increase their knowledge, medieval society viewed it as an excuse to blame those they viewed as different. By placing blame elsewhere, they were able to excuse themselves from scrutiny and focus on something they could actually control. And in that process, they vilified the Jews and gave the pervasive evil they saw around them an identity. This gave them a feeling of power during a time when the world seemed to be spinning completely out of control. By projecting all their fear about the Black Death onto the Jews, society was able to rid itself of the burden through simple distraction. It provided an explanation where there was none and understanding in a place of utter darkness.


The Idea That Jews Kidnapped Christian Children For Their Blood Became A Thing Again

Not only did the Black Death heighten the tensions between Christian and Jewish Europeans, but it also resurrected an ancient and pernicious belief known as blood libel - the accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered Christian children to use their blood in dark religious rites. While the earliest known example of blood libel came from the Greek philosopher Democritus who, in the 1st century CE, said "every seven years the Jews captured a stranger, brought him to the temple in Jerusalem, and sacrificed him, cutting his flesh into bits," the explosion of plague-induced fear in medieval times renewed these beliefs and led to a resurgence of hatred.

Many Christians began to focus on the mysticism of the Jewish religion, suggesting they needed human blood for baking Passover matzoh and performing sacrifices for their God. In reality, these things ran contrary to the teachings of Judaism, as was proven when Abraham could not fulfill God's command to kill his own son, eventually using a ram as a substitute. The Torah strictly forbids murder and the use of any blood in cooking, and eating human flesh was a clear violation of the dietary laws of kashrut. As for human sacrifice, that wasn't endorsed either. While ancient Judaism did use animal death in some practices, the Old Testament clearly states the killing of humans to appease God is one of the great evils of the world - a sin that separated the pagans of Canaan from the Hebrews.


When No Treatments Could Be Found, Suspicion Turned To The Jews

People were stunned when the disease immediately began to take root in the community, as there seemed to be no explanation for it. Doctors had zero idea how to treat it and believed "instantaneous death occurs when the aerial spirit escaping from the eyes of the sick man strikes the healthy person standing near or looking at the sick." In this way, the disease was seen as a metaphysical - almost divine - power that could be passed along through some sort of magical element in the air. It was precisely this belief that allowed for religious justification and led to the suspicion of the Jews.

The disease was not just a sickness; it was a malady of the mind and spirit, a fact confirmed when medieval treatments like bloodletting, boil-lancing, and the burning of aromatic herbs did nothing. They could not understand why the plague skipped certain towns altogether while desecrating others, or why it abated in winter only to renew itself with even greater ferocity in the spring. In their panic, healthy people avoided the sick at any cost; most doctors refused to see patients; shopkeepers shut their doors; priests refused to offer last rites. People fled the cities to the countryside, but even there death was commonplace, as the corpses of cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens littered the hillsides.


The Jews Had Been Targets For Centuries Before The Black Death

It's worth noting that the Jews were already facing many restrictions in Europe even before the plague outbreak in 1348. However, while the Catholic Church appeared to discourage Jewish persecution, the papacy had already enacted a law requiring Jews to wear distinctive clothing so as to separate them from Christians.

Even more, Jews had been professionally restricted for centuries and pigeonholed into being moneylenders or merchants. So while they did serve a valuable role in the community, the turn of the 11th century had changed their societal landscape. Christianity had stormed the world and become the predominant religion, bringing with it some of the most fanatical followers in history. But the Jews were resilient and smart - they developed merchant guilds and began to control a great deal of international commerce. This power did not play well with the gentile world, however, and it led to a general exclusion of Jews in the business world. It also clearly led to the kind of resentment that would manifest in other areas of social life, facilitating medical conspiracy theories around the plague.



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Mon, 03 Apr 2017 07:31:13 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/how-the-black-death-led-to-persecution-of-jews/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[From Prostitute To Secret Agent: The Unbelievable Life of Marthe Richard]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/insane-marthe-richard-stories/jen-jeffers

In many ways, Marthe Richard was the original James Bond: beautiful, smart, and savvy, she used her wiles and her wits to survive. She holds a unique place among other notable women in history, thanks in large part to the insane Marthe Richard tales that pepper her colorful biography.

Born in northeastern France in 1889, she turned to a life of prostitution as a teenager. Like other historical prostitutes, though, Richard didn't let her perceived lower position hold her back. Soon, she was arranging lucrative marriages for herself, flying planes, and joining the ranks of spies during both World War I and II. Stories about her adventures seem crazy - and Richard was a known embellisher of the truth - but the facts don't lie. Simply put, Richard lived an extraordinary life. By the time she passed away in 1982, she had left her mark on European history.

Richard's experiences spanned wars, decades, and countless lovers. She was a queen of her own narrative, determined to raise herself from humble beginnings to wealth and prestige, no matter what.


From Prostitute To Secret Agent: The Unbelievable Life of Marthe Richard,

She Was A Teenage Prostitute

Born in 1889 to a humble French family, Richard - then Marthe Betenfeld - apprenticed a tailor at age 14. But she soon realized there was no money it it.

Richard soon became a prostitute, walking the streets of a local garrison town where soldiers were always looking for company. But then a soldier accused her of giving him syphilis, and she was issued a special card in 1905 identifying her as a sex worker with a venereal disease. Richard had no choice but to head out to greener pastures, and chose Paris as her next destination.


Her Spy Work Involved Poisonous Weevils And Invisible Ink

Richard pretended to work as a spy on behalf of German Captain von Krohn during World War I. One particularly colorful story from this period tells how he sent her to Argentina in 1917, with eight thermoses of poisonous weevils in tow. Supposedly, Richard was to use them to contaminate wheat in the ship's hold that was being sent to Allied forces. Instead, she drowned the weevils in the sink.

Von Krohn also sent Richard back to Paris to gather information for him on weapons production. To help her, he gave her special invisible ink packaged in a tiny, seed-sized package. According to von Krohn, she could dissolve the capsule in water to produce "enough secret ink to write a book."


She Lied About Her Flying Exploits

A teenaged Richard moved to Paris in 1906, and soon took up with a rich industrialist named Henri Richer. She was always an adventurous spirit, so Richer encouraged her to learn to fly. She received her pilot's license in 1913.

But Richard was more than just a thrill-seeker - she was a bit of liar as well. After successfully flying her plane to Burgundy, she secretly put it on a train to the countryside right outside Zurich so she could fly it into the city and claim to be the first female in the world to make such a trip.

Despite her untruth, the record was approved, and she founded the L'Union Patriotique des Aviatrices Françaises, or Patriotic Union of French Women Aviators, in 1914.


She Received The Legion D'Honneur - Sort Of

In 1933, Richard was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, the highest honor in France. While Richard is frequently cited as earning the award herself, some historians suggest it was actually a posthumous honor for her late husband Thomas Crompton's work for the Rockefeller Foundation.


She Tricked Her Lover Into Showing Her A German Submarine

After being sent to Paris with invisible ink, Richard returned to von Krohn with fake documents courtesy of French counterintelligence. The captain's trust in her was further cemented, and he took her along on a visit to inspect a German submarine that had recently experienced engine trouble.

Using von Krohn's own invisible ink against him, Richard took this opportunity to sketch a detailed description of the submarine, which she then forwarded to her contacts in France. She signed her work using her code name, "Alouette," which is French for "lark."


She Fell For Her Target

It's a cardinal rule of spycraft: don't fall in love with your target. But by the end of World War I, Richard had developed genuine affection for von Krohn. She continued to send intelligence back to France until 1918, however.

Richard returned to France, but decided to tell von Krohn that she had been a double agent before departing. There was nothing von Krohn could do about that - the war had ended.


A Lover Recruited Her As A Spy

Richard married Henri Richer in 1914. When World War I broke out, he was killed in battle. Richard turned to her lover, a Russian named Zozo, for comfort.

Through this connection, she met Captain Georges Ladoux, France's spymaster and the handler of the infamous Mata Hari. Ladoux immediately noticed Richard's excellent language skills - she spoke English, Spanish, and German in addition to her native French. He offered her a job as a spy for the French counterintelligence.


She Became Famous Thanks To A Hit Film

In 1937, a movie was made about Richard's (fictionalized) life, called Marthe Richard au Service de la France. She became a national sweetheart.

But as World War II approached, Richard did her best to challenge this title, hanging out in the carefree French town of Vichy before moving back to Paris. There, she was rumored to procure young women for German soldiers and engage in minor swindling. She eventually joined the Resistance when the time was right.


Her First Mission Was To Seduce A Glass-Eyed Naval Captain

In 1916, Richard was sent to spy on Baron von Krohn, a German naval captain with a glass eye. Von Krohn became instantly smitten with her, and Richard soon became his mistress and his confidante. Von Krohn recruited her as well, making Richard a double agent.

According to one of her autobiographies, Richard got through her first encounter with the captain by having a stiff drink and telling herself, "Vive la France."


She Fabricated Her Memoir

After World War I, Richard's old employer, the spymaster Ladoux, decided to write a series of books about the spies he had created over the years. He focused on Richard for his second volume, but fabricated a great deal of her story - including her actual name. She had been living as "Richer," in honor of her first husband, but Ladoux christened her "Richard" instead. The book became a massive success, and the name stuck.

Ever the opportunist, Richard chose to endorse Ladoux's fabulist take on her life. His stories led to a lucrative career as a lecturer for her, and Richard wrote her own fully fabricated book of "memoirs" in 1935.



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Tue, 28 Feb 2017 03:27:20 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/insane-marthe-richard-stories/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[11 Hardcore Facts About Clara Barton, The Founder Of The American Red Cross]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-clara-barton/amandasedlakhevener

Clara Barton was born in 1821 in North Oxford, Massachusetts. Among many undisputed Clara Barton facts are the ones of her early brightness - she could read at age three and was taught mathematics and many other subjects by her schoolteacher older sisters. This, combined with the empathy for others taught to her by her father, led Barton to grow up to become the kind of hardcore woman who blazed trails for women in the generations that followed. 

Many a Clara Barton biography shares stories about her willingness to be on the battlefield, her work for the suffrage movement, and most importantly, her dedication to the Red Cross. These hardcore facts about Clara Barton also include things she accomplished in her life after the war and her need to share her life's story. Hold onto your hat (even if you aren't wearing one), and get ready to read about a tough woman who heard the word "no" and ignored it. 


11 Hardcore Facts About Clara Barton, The Founder Of The American Red Cross,

She Founded The American Red Cross

Clara Barton spent some time in Europe after the Civil War ended. In 1869, she found herself in Geneva, Switzerland, learning about the International Red Cross, which was chartered in 11 different countries and had a mission to help those wounded during wartime. After helping the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870s, she went back to the United States and pitched the idea to then-President Rutherford B. Hayes. He and his successor, James Garfield, failed to sign the official treaty to create a United States-based version of the Red Cross. It took a third president, Chester A. Arthur, to sign the treaty in 1882 and then another 18 years before the US Red Cross received its official congressional charter. Finally, after 30 years, Clara Barton's Red Cross was able to spring into action. 


She Began Nursing Others When She Was 11 Years Old

In 1832, tragedy struck. Clara Barton's older brother, David, was severely injured when he fell from the rafters of a barn on the family property. He nearly died and spent the next two years convalescing. Barton, only 11 at the time of the accident, felt an overwhelming need to care for him. She stayed at his bedside, carefully tackling his medical needs, which included applying leeches (this was a time before antibiotics, when the medical community believed that bloodletting cured many ailments) and applying clean bandages on a regular basis. A doctor checked in on him regularly, bringing new medications and experimental treatments, all of which Barton was present for. It was quite a strain on her, but David eventually recovered. 


She Opened The First Ever Free School In New Jersey

Clara Barton began working as a schoolteacher in her hometown of Oxford, Massachusetts at the ripe young age of 18. At the time, teaching was one of the few acceptable career choices for women, and she enjoyed the job but refused to harshly discipline her students, even though corporal punishment was popular in most schools. Later on, she moved to New Jersey and worked at a subscription school. Public schooling wasn't supported by taxpayers or mandated by the government prior to the mid-1800s, so the only children who could go to school in some states were those whose parents could afford to pay the fees and could go without the manual labor provided by their children.

While teaching in Bordentown, New Jersey, Barton noticed quite a few children standing outside on the street corners - their parents couldn't afford the fee for school, so they couldn't attend. In response to this, Barton told the city that she would start a free school for them as long as the local government provided her with a building. They did, and her school became the first free school in the state. However, her success was short-lived. The people running Bordentown noticed how successful her school was, so they built a new structure to house it and then hired a man - not Barton - to run it. 


She Helped Create A National Cemetery For Union Civil War Troops

After the Civil War ended in 1865, Clara Barton didn't stop helping soldiers. She worked with Dorence Atwater, a former POW during the war, to petition Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, to create a proper cemetery for Union Troops in Andersonville, Georgia, home of the former Confederate prisoner of war camp where many Union troops had perished. Stanton agreed, and Barton got to work, along with Atwater, a US Army Quartermaster, and a number of other volunteers. Together, they created Andersonville National Cemetery, and she raised the US flag at its dedication ceremony. 


She Hooked Up With A Married Soldier

Clara Barton never married, which was unusual, given the fact that most women had little agency at the time and weren't usually allowed to own property or even vote in elections. She reportedly had a beau, a married Union officer, Lieutenant Colonel John J. Elwell. And, according to letters found by a researcher, the two physically consummated their relationship, something unusual given the propriety that women were supposed to adhere to during the time. She also supposedly turned down more than one offer of marriage, choosing to remain "single" and dedicate her life to helping others. 


Her Mother Forced Her Toughen Up And Be Independent

Clara Barton was born to former army Captain Stephen Barton, a man who fought in the "Indian Wars" in what is now Ohio and Michigan, and his wife, Sarah Stone Barton, who is described as being very independent, a vocal advocate for women's rights, and even somewhat volatile. Clara was the youngest of five children. Her youngest sibling was qo years older than she was. She described herself as feeling like the only child in the family, with six parents (her two actual parents and four siblings) watching over her. She was reportedly too "sensitive" and afraid of everything, so, in order to toughen her up, her mother followed the advice of a phrenologist and had her go out and learn to be independent by teaching at a school. This set in motion the person Clara would become. 


During The Civil War, They Called Her "The Angel Of The Battlefield"

Clara Barton refused to stay away from the battlefields during the US Civil War. Many of the other nurses and doctors, as well as the volunteers from the Soldiers' Aid Societies, stayed at dedicated hospitals and infirmaries, mostly out of harm's way. Not Barton. They couldn't make her get out of the fields. Many of the stories told about her bravery involve her tending to wounded soldiers while bullets whizzed over her head. One such tale took place at Antietam. She was so focused on the soldier that she was helping that she didn't notice that a bullet had pierced the puffy sleeve of her blouse (thankfully missing her arm) and hit and killed the soldier. She earned the moniker "The Angel of the Battlefield" for her unparalleled feats of medical heroism during the war.


At The Age Of 77, She Ventured Onto The Battlefield Again

At an age when most people relax, retire, and pursue a life of leisure, Clara Barton found herself on the battlefield again, helping troops wounded in the Spanish-American War in 1901. However, this time, she officially represented the American Red Cross, which caused a few problems. There was a rift between the various local branches of the Red Cross and its national office, which widened when people began to criticize Barton for going onto the battlefields herself. Her inflexibility and unwillingness to delegate created this tension. With her mission in jeopardy, she stepped down as head of the organization three years later. 


She Worked With Susan B. Anthony In Promoting The Women's Suffrage Movement

Clara Barton was very dedicated to her chosen cause - helping wounded soldiers and ensuring that all of them (even the deceased) were accounted for and properly honored. However, that didn't stop her from caring about other causes, particularly the ones that involved earning equality for women. Barton helped Susan B. Anthony promote women's suffrage and once hosted a party for the cause, bringing in 400 determined feminists who listened to her call for action. She even lectured the soldiers that she nursed about the need for women's rights. 


She Was The First Female Clerk In The US Patent Office

After her stint as a teacher, Clara Barton moved to Washington, D.C. where she became the first woman to work as a clerk in the US Patent Office. She also earned the same amount of money as her male co-workers, an amazing feat. She faced some harassment and other issues from her male coworkers but persevered.

However, Barton's work in D.C. did not last long. A new President was elected - James Buchanan - and he fired many people who voiced their support for his opponent, the incumbent, Franklin Pierce. Several years later, when Abraham Lincoln became President, Barton returned to the patent office but not as a clerk. Later on, when the Civil War broke out, she found a new cause: nursing wounded soldiers. 



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Mon, 03 Apr 2017 07:07:48 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-clara-barton/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[The Unbelievable Life Of Hiroo Onoda, The Man Who Fought WWII For 30 Extra Years]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-hiroo-onoda/philgibbons

Who was Hiroo Onoda? Onoda was a Japanese soldier who refused to surrender long after the capitulation of Japan in WWII. For 29 extra years, Onoda continued to execute the mission that he was ordered to carry out in 1944. Stationed at Lubang Island, in the Philippines, he and his three-man team were the only survivors when the US attacked and recaptured the island in 1945. Onoda ordered the group to retreat to remote mountains, occasionally carrying out guerrilla missions against island installations, which was his original assignment. Despite the death or capture of all three of his subordinates, repeated attempts to inform him of the end of the war, and gun battles with Filipino authorities, Onoda fought on. When he was finally tracked down by a Japanese national and told that the war was over, he responded by saying he was continuing to follow orders and would not surrender until he received an appropriate command from his superior officer.

How Onoda finally agreed to give up, his subsequent life as a celebrated Japanese hero and expatriate in Brazil, and his controversial outlook on Japanese society and militarism are just some of the unbelievable facts about Hiroo Onoda. Read on to discover more about a guy who lived nearly three decades lost from civilization.


The Unbelievable Life Of Hiroo Onoda, The Man Who Fought WWII For 30 Extra Years,

He Was Foiled In His Attempt To Prevent American Invasion In 1945

Hiroo Onoda enlisted in the Japanese Army in 1940. He trained as both an intelligence officer and a commando, and, in 1944, he was sent to Lubang Island to prepare for the inevitable American attempt to retake the Philippines. To this end, he was ordered to destroy the island's air strip and docking area. However, local higher-ranking officers overruled him, and this facilitated the successful American invasion of Lubang Island in February of 1945.


Onoda Personally Surrendered His Sword To The President Of The Philippines

Onoda killed at least seven Filipino citizens during his 29-year mission. However, at a televised ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Manila on March 11, 1974, Onoda received a full pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos. He also was told that he was welcome to stay in the Philippines. Onoda, dressed in his 30-year-old military uniform, personally surrendered his military sword to Marcos but graciously refused the opportunity to remain in the Philippines. Telling him that he admired his courage, Marcos immediately returned Onoda's sword. Onoda followed with a live statement on Filipino television:

“From now on I will try my best to contribute to the development of my country and the closer cooperation of the Philippines and Japan.” 


29 Years After The War Ended, Onoda's Commanding Officer Dismissed Him

Upon his return to Japan, Norio Suzuki immediately set out to find Hiroo Onoda's commanding officer - no small feat as this was 29 years after the end of World War II. The commanding officer who had ordered Onoda to continue his mission unconditionally, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, was now a bookseller in a small shop. He agreed to accompany Suzuki and Onoda's brother back to the Philippines to facilitate his former subordinate's surrender. In his memoir, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, Onoda described his emotions when the two men met again on Lubang Island, and Taniguchi told him to cease all combat activities and operations immediately:  

“I stood still, waiting for what was to follow. I felt sure Major Taniguchi would come up to me and whisper, ‘That was so much talk. I will tell you your real orders later.’... Major Taniguchi slowly folded up the order and for the first time I realized that no subterfuge was involved. This was no trick - everything I had heard was real... We really lost the war! How could they have been so sloppy? Suddenly everything went black.”


They Regarded All Information Saying The War Was Over As Propaganda

Although Onoda and his men would eventually access leaflets that told them that the war had ended, they ignored this information. They rationalized their decision by maintaining that this was merely the usual propaganda employed during wartime. In raids to forage food from farmhouses in the remote countryside, Onoda and his men would also obtain newspapers that spoke of Japan's defeat and the end of the war. Again, they considered this nothing but an Allied trick to induce their surrender. This fanatic attitude was extreme but not uncommon among the thousands of Japanese left stranded at the conclusion of World War II. Taught that surrender was tantamount to desertion and that they should choose death before dishonor, many Japanese hid out in various parts of the Pacific long after the war was concluded. 


Onoda Continued To Attack And Kill Filipino Police And Citizens Well Into The '70s

Onoda's presence on Lubang was not an issue of 'out of sight, out of mind.' In fact, Onoda routinely shot at patrols searching for him and aggressively attacked farmers, even in the last years of his presence on the island. Of this behavior, he subsequently stated: “I wanted my own territory... To expand we had to break in the locals. I materialized to destroy things, threatening them, lighting fires in empty houses.” 

Residents were routinely killed, sometimes brutally according to one inhabitant of the island: “[The] murders always took place when they were farming. One was attacked from behind as he stooped down. The body was found in one place and the head in another.”

Clearly, Lubang Island lived in fear during Onoda's protracted war. A prominent local, Ben Abeleda had this to say: “Almost every year, usually about harvest time, there was a casualty. Now the people can go back to their farms. Now there will be real progress.”


He Lived On Coconuts, Bananas, And Stolen Cows

Onoda's unit was forced to tolerate a harsh lifestyle to continue their occupation of Lubang Island. Their diet consisted of fruits and vegetables that they gleaned from the jungle, typically coconuts and bananas. Occasionally, they would steal and butcher a cow from one of the local farmers. If the opportunity presented itself, they would enter an empty home and steal rice and other food staples, as well. They tolerated extreme jungle heat and humidity, mosquitoes and other insects, rats, and the occasional violent interaction with police or residents intent on capturing or killing them. They constructed bamboo huts and somehow kept their weapons and uniforms in good condition. They continued to presume that any information they received about Japan and their families was the result of the American occupation threatening their loved ones. 


One By One, Onoda's Compatriots Were Killed Or Surrendered

Over time, circumstances dictated that Hiroo Onoda would fight his three-decade battle by himself. His three comrades, Private Yuichi Akatsu, Corporal Shoichi Shimada, and Private First Class Kinshichi Kozuka would all eventually be killed or surrender. Akatsu seems to have grown tired of the situation and first abandoned the group in 1949, eventually turning himself in to Filipino authorities in 1950.

Made aware that three survivors were somewhere in the Lubang wilderness, attempts were made to encourage the group to give in, and these efforts included family photographs and letters dropped by airplane. However, these missives were ignored. Shimada was eventually killed by gunshot in 1954 by Filipino forces searching for the holdouts. Kozuka would survive for another 20 years before being shot to death in 1972 by Filipino police, during a "mission" to destroy crops grown by local farmers. Having already declared Onoda legally dead, this latest incident forced the Japanese government to reevaluate the holdout's fate.  


Upon His Return To Japan, Onoda Became A National Hero

Hiroo Onoda returned to Tokyo in a chartered Japan Air Lines jet. He was greeted by both of his parents, cheering, flag-waving crowds, front-page headlines, and non-stop media coverage. Onoda's decades of deprivation and commitment to a hopeless mission seemed to strike a chord in a nation that was contemplating its focus on materialism, capitalism, and a loss of traditional values. A major Japanese newspaper summed up this sentiment in an editorial:

“[His] task was impossible to achieve, but he did his best... He led a faithful life, true to the orders given him... Even in the most severe conditions, even after losing two of his subordinates, Onoda was determined, probably due to his ‘soldier spirit,’ to do his duty... Generally speaking, Onoda's unyielding and resolute attitude may be beyond the comprehension’ of the present-day generation so used to living in material affluence. To this soldier, duty took precedence over his personal sentiments."

Upon his return to Tokyo, Onoda became emotional only once, when, at the airport, he met with the weeping daughter of his former comrade Shoichi Shimada, killed 20 years earlier. The daughter was accompanied by a large photograph of her father. Onoda lost his rigid composure momentarily, became somber, and bowed several times.

Onoda's account of his ordeal, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, became a national bestseller.


He Was Commanded To Never Surrender Or Commit Suicide

Eventually, every Japanese soldier on Lubang Island was either killed or captured with the exception of Onoda and three other men. Outranking all three of these soldiers as a Second Lieutenant, Onoda ordered the group to flee into the rugged higher elevations of the island. Critically, when he received his orders to go to the Philippines, Onoda was told by his commanders that surrender and suicide were out of the question. In the spirit of these orders, he and his unit continued to launch guerrilla attacks against both American and Filipino forces, involving themselves in occasional gun battles. Of his refusal to surrender Onoda would later say:

"I became an officer and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame. I am very competitive."


A Japanese "Hippie" Began The Process Of Onoda's Surrender

In 1959, the Japanese government officially declared Hiroo Onoda dead. On October 19, 1972, Onoda's compatriot Kinshichi Ozuka was shot to death on Lubang Island, his body eventually identified and returned to Japan. This set off renewed speculation in Japanese media about the fate and possible survival of Hiroo Onoda. In 1974, an individual named Norio Suzuki decided to embark on a quixotic journey to find "Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order."

Strangely, despite a failed, three-decade search by local authorities to locate Onoda, Suzuki took only four days to encounter the holdout Japanese soldier. Later, Onoda said he was tempted to shoot the stranger, but Suzuki's initial statement that, "Onoda-san, the emperor and the people of Japan are worried about you," caused him to hesitate. Onoda later explained in an interview:

"This hippie boy Suzuki came to the island to listen to the feelings of a Japanese soldier. Suzuki asked me why I would not come out..."

Onoda explained to Suzuki that he would not leave until officially ordered to do so. He agreed to wait for Suzuki's return with his commander. 



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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:22:46 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-hiroo-onoda/philgibbons
<![CDATA[Why Is Jesus Depicted As Being White?]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/how-jesus-became-white/elle-tharp

Whatever your religious affiliation, it's widely accepted by historians that Jesus, the man, did exist. What hasn't been agreed upon, however, is what Jesus looked like. Since Jesus was a Galilean man who was born and raised in the Middle East, you would think that the common first guess as to what Jesus looked like would be a Middle Eastern man. But nah. Somewhere along the way, Jesus became a white man, and many Western Christians now dogmatically protect this appearance. Considering the long-documented history of racism in Western civilization, it isn't exactly shocking that Jesus is so commonly thought of and depicted as a white man. But how exactly did this phenotypic transformation happen? Like Jesus' "Lost Years," the unknown has created a vacuum for people to fill however they like. Read on to find out more about the specific moments at which Jesus became white.


Why Is Jesus Depicted As Being White?,

The Romans Didn't Exactly Want To Glorify An Oppressed Minority

In the sixth century, Byzantine artists began portraying a white-skinned, middle-hair-parted, bearded Jesus. Why did they do this when the earliest depictions of Jesus show him with a darker complexion? According to Biblical scholar Christena Cleveland, in reality, Jesus would have been an ethnic minority even during his own lifetime. And, even then, "Jews were marginalized by Romans, Greeks, and other non-Jewish groups in many imperial cities."

And Jesus wasn't a silent minority either. In the Bible, he's quite the rabble rouser, literally organizing grassroots efforts to aid the poor and needy against the rich and powerful. Probably not the image of God the Roman Empire really wanted to shout from the rooftops. Less radical and less brown made for a better deity in the Roman imagination and directly contributed to the White Jesus so prevalent today.


Documents Of Questionable Origin Began Describing His Appearance In The Middle Ages

As Christianity became acceptable, and then even popular, people realized they didn't have any true physical renderings of their savior, Jesus Christ. So they did what people do best and started making stuff up.

A forged letter from one Publius Lentulus (circa 14-37 CE) to the Roman senate claims to give a physical description of Jesus, saying he is tall, wavy-haired, rosey-cheeked, and blue-eyed. The only problem is that there's pretty much no way this letter was written at the time it claimed to be, as there was no such Lentulus during this time period, and it includes many phrases and references that place its creation sometime around the 13th century.

Several other supposed ancient descriptions of Jesus arose during this time, but, like the Lentulus letter, they have been dated to the Middle Ages, when artistic depictions of Jesus would have already become commonplace and influential. 


White Jesus Was A Necessary Tool For Slavery

Slavery was built on the premise that only certain racial groups (the white one) possessed higher-order faculties like morality. Under this way of thinking, black Africans had souls somewhere beneath their "heathen" behaviors and exteriors, and it became Europeans' "Christian duty" to convert them. White Jesus was an essential tool in this fight for the souls of the slaves. As the scholar Francesca Ramsey points out: "white supremacy" was "used in Christianity to colonize and control before and during slavery," and Jesus represented whiteness, purity, and European superiority; a more Israeli-looking Jesus simply wouldn't have worked in the same way.

Biblical scholar Christena Cleveland adds: "By negating his true identity as a dark-skinned, oppressed minority, slaveholders were better able to justify the master-slave hierarchy and forget Jesus’ ministry to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18)."


The Few Descriptions Of Jesus In The Bible Contradict Each Other

In general, the New Testament gives little description of the appearance of Jesus or anyone else for that matter. The few descriptors that do exist are hardly foolproof evidence, as they describe Jesus in some crazy, not-of-this-world terms.

In John's vision of Jesus in the Book of Revelation: "The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire... His feet were like burnished bronze... His face was like the sun shining at its brightest" (1:14-16). Obviously, this depiction speaks to Jesus less as a human being and more as God, and it doesn't really state his racial make-up other than as a bronzed-footed, white-haired shiny man with fire eyes.

Old Testament descriptions speak of the coming Messiah (which Christians believe to be Jesus) and describe him as "fairer than the children of men" (Psalms 45:2). And a verse in Lamentations believed to refer to Jesus states, "Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more swarthy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: Their visage is blacker than coal" (4:7-8). So, while purer than snow, the Nazarites' visages (AKA their faces) were black; does this give you a clearer picture?

This imagery is most likely meant in a figurative sense, but it gives cause for misinterpretation of the literal image of Jesus. And these descriptions even change depending on the version of the Bible you read.


Romans Associated Non-Whites With Non-Believers

By the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire had been replaced with papal authority, and the time period was marked by Crusades (AKA Holy Wars) against Muslim forces in and around the the Holy Land (AKA Jerusalem). The continual religious fighting during this time was between European Christians and Middle Eastern Muslims. Therefore, from the perspective of the Christian forces, the non-believers and the enemy were non-white. Despite the fact that Jesus probably looked more like these people than Europeans, his image as a white man was crucial to the Crusades and their mission. They certainly wouldn't have painted him to look like the enemy.


Early On, Christians Were Too Persecuted To Create Jesus Representations

After Jesus' death, being his known homie wasn't exactly cool. Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire for several centuries after his death, and followers therefore relied on symbols to represent their religious beliefs and secretly connect with one another. These symbols included the ichthyos, (the Jesus fish still prevalent today), and the Chi-Ro, a monogram of the letters chi (X) and ro (P), the first two letters in the Greek word "Christos," meaning Christ.

Unfortunately for historians, this means that there are virtually zero depictions of Jesus from the time when people actually might have accurately remembered what he looked like. Womp womp.


People Claimed To Have Visions Of Jesus That Made Him White

In addition to the documents claiming to be first-hand accounts of what Jesus looked like, many famous 'miracle images' and visions of Christ popped up around the Middle Ages. The Image of Edessa, for example, supposedly bears the image of Jesus from a towel Christ wiped his face on during his lifetime. But people - being like they are - are phonies, and this towel image, as well as many other famous artifacts claiming to have captured the face of Jesus, are widely dated by historians to the Middle Ages rather than Jesus' lifetime.


Whiteness Is Associated With Purity, And Jesus Was Pure So...

The color white is frequently symbolic of purity in the Bible. Jesus is frequently referred to as "the lamb of god," and the holy spirit is often depicted as a white dove. This long-lasting association between the color white and goodness/purity could be part of the reason Jesus was depicted as white.

Or, alternatively, it could explain a larger misunderstanding of interpreting figurative whiteness from the Bible as a literal light skin tone. Anyone can have a conscience so pure that it's white like snow, and it doesn't necessarily mean their racial appearance is white. The connection between the color white and purity has long been misused to justify racism and slavery.


Roman Artistic Depictions Became Mainstream

By the 5th century, with Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity, Jesus was all the rage, and artistic depictions began to flourish in the Roman Empire. The classic representation of Jesus today - as a white man with longish brown hair, a beard, and a halo - became prolific under Constantine. As the artwork was mostly being created in Rome, it's likely that they painted their Messiah as appearing similar to themselves, with European features and lighter skin, to deepen their own connection to him.


Artists Had Numerous Incentives To Portray Jesus As White

While Popes weren't the ones painting the pictures, artists during this time could've faced some dark consequences for going against the Church and its accepted depiction of Jesus. For most starving artists, compromising in their rendering of Christ certainly beat out getting burned for heresy.

In addition, artists would want to actually sell their artwork, which would have been difficult if they strayed from the popular and mainstream image of White Jesus. Having one agreed-upon image of the savior helped to unify the religion and worked as proof against the nay-sayers.



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Wed, 08 Mar 2017 07:37:34 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/how-jesus-became-white/elle-tharp
<![CDATA[What Happened To The Russian Submarine That Exploded & Killed 118 People?]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/russian-submarine-kursk-disaster/christopher-myers

When the Russian submarine Kursk sank in 2000, it was a conspiracy theorist's dream come true. Immediately, conflicting stories started pouring in from official sources, ranging from a US submarine ramming the Kursk to a potential Russia-China torpedo sales plot. The Russian Kursk submarine disaster captured the attention of millions, and the families of the crew were left struggling to find out what really happened to their loved ones. As if living on a submarine isn't scary enough, imagine being aboard as explosions rocketed you to the sea floor.

Some of the conspiracy theories that developed are actually quite plausible, while others require a level of skepticism that would make even Descartes blush. It would be years before the fate of the Kursk was fully understood, and, even now, there is still some controversy surrounding it. So what really happened to the Kursk?


What Happened To The Russian Submarine That Exploded & Killed 118 People?,

The Kursk Was The Titanic Of Submarines

The Kursk submarine was a BIG, burly piece of Russian engineering. Specifically, the Kursk was an Oscar II (Project 949A Antey), a nuclear-powered, cruise-missile submarine designed to go after NATO aircraft carrier groups. The Oscar IIs have a double hull separated by 3.5 mm, and are divided into 10 different compartments. The sail has a reinforced double cover designed to be able to break through the Arctic ice cap. The sub is about 154 m long, 10 m longer than the previous Oscars.

11 of these subs were made between 1985 and 1999, and eight of them are still in service. These big boys were considered pretty unsinkable, so when the Kursk when down in a training exercise, it really caught people off guard, not unlike the Titanic's 'unsinkable' sinking a century before.


Some Have Suggested That It Was Caused By A Shkval (Squall) Torpedo

Other theorists have suggested that the Kursk was testing experimental torpedoes at the time of the accident. Called the Squall (Shkval), these are high-speed supercavitating rocket-propelled torpedoes designed to travel too fast to be avoidable at close range. They are able to travel 230 mph, three to four times faster than any other torpedo.

These theories remain unclear, however, as to exactly how the accident happened. They range from a malfunction in the Squall torpedo to the NATO subs firing on the Kursk in order to destroy the Squall. It is not clear, however, that the Kursk had any Squall torpedoes aboard at the time of the accident.


It Was Participating In A Naval Exercise At The Time Of The Accident

At 11:28 am on August 12, 2000, while doing training exercises in the Barents Sea, an explosion rocked the Kursk. The sub sank to the sea bed, 354 ft below the surface, resting at the bottom of the freezing-cold, watery depths. Just a little more than two minutes after the initial explosion, a second, more massive one took place inside the Kursk. What was supposed to be an exercise wherein the Kursk fired two dummy torpedoes at the Russian battle cruiser, the Pyotr Velikiy, turned into the world watching in disbelief to see if any members of the 118-member crew had survived. However, it would be several hours before anyone even knew anything was wrong.


The Russian Navy Claimed It Was Due To A Collision With A NATO Sub

Initially, some high-level Russian officials claimed that the accident was caused by a collision with a NATO submarine that was spying on the maneuvers. According to this theory, the USS Memphis collided with the Kursk and then went to a Norwegian port for emergency repairs.

This theory is not entirely without merit. The Russians pointed to satellite imagery of a US submarine that was docked in a Norwegian port on August 19, a few days after the accident. In addition, there have actually been 11 such collisions recorded in the area since 1967.


The Russian Navy Didn't Realize The Vessel Had Sunk For Six Hours

The first indication that something was wrong was when the Kursk failed to check in that evening. At that point, the Russians sent out rescue ships, which located the accident area the next morning on August 13. All of the initial rescue attempts failed, however, due to a combination of poor weather, the angle of the Kursk, and a lack of appropriate rescue equipment.

The United Kingdom, the United States, and Norway all offered to assist with rescue operations, but Russia refused assistance. Four days after the initial disaster, they changed their minds and agreed to international help.


The Explosion Registered On Seismographs In Alaska

The explosion that ultimately destroyed the Kursk was HUGE. At least, that is what seismic readings of the event reveal. First, there was a small explosion that registered on seismographs. Then, 135 seconds later, there was a second explosion 250 times larger than the first. The second explosion registered all the way on the other side of the Arctic Circle in Alaska.


The Apparent Cause Was A Torpedo Exploding

The most credible and likely explanation of the accident is that it was caused by a malfunctioning torpedo aboard the Kursk, which set off a chain reaction that caused the rest of the torpedoes on the Kursk to explode. The first explosion that registered would therefore have been the initial torpedo explosion, and the second explosion would have been when the resulting fire detonated warheads on some of the Kursk's other torpedoes. Official intelligence reports confirm this theory.

According to the theory, far from an experimental new torpedo, the Kursk was carrying older torpedoes that used hydrogen peroxide liquid as a propellant. The use of High Test Peroxide (HTP) powered torpedoes had been stopped in British submarines after an accident in the 1950s but was cleared for use by the Russian navy in 1997.


US Submarines Were In The Area, And The Russians Claimed To Have Found Some Of Their Remains

Collision or no, the US did admit to having submarines in the area monitoring the Russian naval exercises. After the initial incident, Russian dive teams found what they claimed to be a piece of conning tower from a US or British nuclear submarine. The object could not be raised from the seabed, however, and the Russians guarded it with warships so that no other nations could approach the debris. And this time, the Russians identified the remains as belonging to the Toledo, a different US submarine that was docked in Scotland in the wake of the accident.


118 Crewmen Died In The Incident

When Norwegian divers managed to open the Kursk's airlocks on August 21, they did not find the survivors they were hoping for. Instead, they found that the cabin had been flooded and concluded that all 118 crewmen were dead. When they found the body of Lieutenant Captain Dmitri Kolesnikov, they noticed a note in his pocket. It was written several hours after the explosions, and stated that there were 23 survivors. Unfortunately, rescue crews did not arrive in time for them.


The Newly Elected Putin Didn't Return From His Vacation In Response To The Disaster

As all this was going down, newly elected President Putin was vacationing in a resort on the Black Sea. Instead of cutting his holiday short and returning to Moscow, however, he stayed on holiday for four more days. While he claims that it wouldn't have made a difference in the handling of the incident - since he is connected to the military wherever he goes - in retrospect he thinks it would have been better to return to Moscow for public relations. He admitted as much in an interview with Larry King.



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Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:31:37 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/russian-submarine-kursk-disaster/christopher-myers
<![CDATA[Awful Facts About George Wallace, The Most Racist Politician In Modern History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-george-wallace/stephanroget

For a man who took several moderately successful runs at the Presidency of the United States, George C. Wallace was quite an unlikeable individual. The list of horrible George Wallace facts is long and steeped with the sort of badness rarely seen even in the annals of American politics. Wallace is the longest-serving governor in Alabama history, and he made his mark through divisive and inflammatory moves and rhetoric. A look at George Wallace's worst moments should leave no doubt about who and what the outspoken bigot was about. The politician George Wallace wasn’t just a public face, either, as Wallace was every bit as terrible in his private life. The treatment of his wife, Lurleen, is evidence enough of that.

Born in Clio, Alabama on August 25, 1919, Wallace would go on to epitomize southern politics for a number of decades. His views on segregation and race relations were notoriously strong; although that wasn’t necessarily true at the beginning and end of his life. Still, there was more than enough bigotry and hatred in the middle to make up for any changes he may have made. George Wallace is a man who made his political career on racism, and the real shame is how frighteningly successful he was with it.


Awful Facts About George Wallace, The Most Racist Politician In Modern History,

He Used His Cancer-Stricken Wife As A Surrogate Governor, While Hiding The Diagnosis From Her

When the 1966 gubernatorial elections rolled around in Alabama, Georege Wallace wasn't ready to let go of his (extremely popular) desegregation stranglehold on the state. But, at the time, Alabama didn't allow governors to serve two consecutive terms. So, he decided to have his wife, Lurleen, run as a surrogate candidate in the 1966 election. Lurleen won the election, but she felt ill throughout its entirety. George had previously been informed by her doctor that she had cancer, but he chose to hide that fact from her so that she could complete the campaign. This prevented her from seeking necessary treatment, and she died shortly into her stint as governor.


He Completely Ignored Lurleen’s Funeral Requests

George Wallace was highly responsible for the death of his wife after he hid her cancer diagnosis from her. However, after ignoring her doctor’s wishes, it wasn’t that much of a leap for Wallace to subsequently ignore his wife’s final wishes, too. Lurleen had specifically asked for a closed-casket funeral, but George didn’t like the optics of this, so he reversed her decision. Lurleen was displayed at her wake in an ornate, glass-top casket, which was basically the exact opposite of what she wanted. However, that’s probably what looked best for George’s political sympathy points.


He Fully Supported Bull Connor's Violent Treatment Of Civil Rights Activists

George Wallace didn’t just hold back civil rights directly, he also acted through some awful surrogates. Chief among these was Eguene "Bull" Connor, the notorious commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. Wallace supported Connor fully, despite the horrific actions he took against black activists, which included the use of police dogs and fire hoses. Many were killed and injured by Connor’s orders, and he wouldn’t have been able to do it at all without his governor’s support. For his part, Wallace was quoted as saying that "the country [needed] a few first class funerals" to undercut the push for civil rights. It was under Governor Wallace, in fact, that "Bloody Sunday" took place in Selma, AL on March 7, 1965.


Despite Getting "Booed" In "Sweet Home Alabama," He Loved The Song

George Wallace was a legendary racist crusader in the South, so it should come as no surprise that he merits a mention in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Sweet Home Alabama." The lyric mentions that “[in] Birmingham they love the governor,” a shoutout that Wallace certainly appreciated. He was said to love the song, but it might not have actually been complimentary of him. The lyric is followed up by “Boo! Boo! Boo! We all did what we could do,” hinting that Skynyrd may not have been Wallace’s biggest fans and might've tried to vote him out of office.


He's The Guy Who Promised “Segregation Now, Tomorrow, And Forever”

George Wallace thought he learned a valuable lesson when he lost an early election due to soft views on race. He then went so hard in the other direction that he became synonymous with segregation in the United States. Wallace made a 1962 campaign slogan out of it, saying “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!” Unsurprisingly, this proclamation was met with raucous applause by entrenched white supremacists throughout the South, and it carried him to the governorship of Alabama, which he would use to fight for segregation for years to come.


He Literally Stood In A Schoolhouse Door To Prevent Black Students From Entering

One of the most direct strikes against civil rights that George Wallace took was his “schoolhouse stand-in.” Wallace was a strong segregationist who opposed integration of any kind but especially within the education system. His promise to “stand in the schoolhouse door” to prevent black students from attending white schools proved to be surprisingly literal, as he actually showed up to block the entrance of new applicants to the University of Alabama. Wallace only yielded when the National Guard showed up, but he helped organize other stand-ins across the state.


After He Lost A Governor's Race By Denouncing The KKK, He Became Their Most Vocal Supporter

George Wallace may be one of the most notoriously racist politicians in US history, but he actually started out as a progressive with relatively mild views on race relations. In the 1958 Alabama governor's race, Wallace denounced the Klu Klux Klan, who supported his opponent, and ran as a Democrat. He even gained the support of the NAACP, but he lost the election in a landslide. Wallace reportedly told Seymore Trammell that he lost the race because he was “out-n*****ed,” and he vowed not to let that happen again.


He Won The 1962 Governor's Race By Embracing The KKK With Open Arms

When George Wallace ran for the governorship of Alabama a second time, in 1962, he leaned hard into the KKK crowd that had spurned him before. Although still running as a Democrat, Wallace ran on a heavily segregationist ticket, and he spoke more openly about his racist views. The change in tactics worked in a big way. Wallace took his oath of office on the same spot where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as Confederate President, and a Klan member - one Asa "Forrest" Carter - helped write his notorious induction speech. One of America’s most bigoted politicians had arrived, and white supremacists the nation over were ready to celebrate.


He Was Shot And Paralyzed On The 1972 Campaign Trail

George Wallace spewed out so much hatred, that it’s no surprise that some was directed right back at him. While on the campaign trail in 1972, Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer, a disgruntled man who had already planned to assassinate Richard Nixon, an ally of Wallace’s. The attack left Wallace permanently paralyzed from the waist down, but he survived. Bremer was arrested and convicted to 63 years in prison. He lived through his incarceration, and was released in 2007, long after Wallace’s death.


He Was The Most Successful Third Party Presidential Nominee Since Theodore Roosevelt

Despite being a repulsively bigoted politician, George Wallace embarked on three separate bids for the Presidency, most successfully as the nominee of the American Independent Party in 1968, where he actually carried 5 states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia), totaling nearly 10 million votes and 46 electoral votes.

Amazingly, he’s the most recent third party candidate in US history to win any electoral votes whatsoever... and he did so by proclaiming “Segregation Forever.” Prior to Wallace, the last time a third party candidate made such a huge dent in a presidential election was Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 - and that was because he had already been president, making Wallace’s racist campaign a begrudgingly regrettable triumph. What’s even more insane is that not even 25 years later, Bill Clinton carried three of the states that Wallace won, running as a liberal Democrat.



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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:00:35 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-george-wallace/stephanroget
<![CDATA[15 Badass Facts About Annie Oakley That Prove She Could Outshoot Any Man]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/cool-annie-oakley-facts/amandasedlakhevener

Phoebe Ann Mosey was born to a poor family in rural Darke County, OH in 1860. Once she became Annie Oakley, though, she become one of the great heroines of the Old West. The facts show her knack for sharpshooting. Among other awesome Annie Oakley feats, she could shoot lit cigarettes out of people's mouths, and hit items located behind her, using just a mirror to help her aim. She and her husband, Frank Butler, traveled with other American frontier heroes as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.

Oakley's career was sidelined in 1925 as the result of a car accident. The collision left her with a fractured ankle and hip. She passed away in 1926, some say as a result of her injuries, although her official cause of death was pernicious anemia. Her husband died a mere 18 days after she passed away. Apparently, he couldn't go on with his wife of 50 years.

No matter how humble her end, stories about Oakley throughout her life cement her place in history among the strong and awe-inspiring women of the Wild West.


15 Badass Facts About Annie Oakley That Prove She Could Outshoot Any Man,

She Once Shot A Cigarette Out Of Kaiser Wilhelm II's Mouth

Out of all of Oakley's feats, one of her best tricks involved shooting the lit end off of a cigarette. She was so good at this, in fact, that Kaiser Wilhelm II let her aim at a cigarette that he had in his mouth in 1890. She cleanly removed not only the lit part of the cigarette, but she knocked the entire thing out of his mouth.

After World War I started, Oakley supposedly quipped that she wished she had missed that shot.


She First Picked Up A Gun At Age 8

As the story goes, Oakley was 8 years old when she first picked up a gun. Her father had taught her how to hunt and trap, unusual pursuits for a young girl in the 1860s.

Oakley was once quoted as saying, "I was eight years old when I made my first shot, and I still consider it one of the best shots I ever made." Apparently, her first shot was a kill - she aimed a heavy muzzle loader at a squirrel, and got it right in the head.


She Starred In Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

After Oakley married Frank Butler, the pair began traveling and performing as sharpshooters together. Mrs. Butler took the name "Annie Oakley," perhaps inspired by the Oakley neighborhood in Cincinnati where they lived.

In 1884, they joined the Sells Brother's Circus, but only stayed with them for one year, because a better opportunity came along: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. At the time, this was one of the most successful traveling acts in the United States. The performing troop traveled to 130 different U.S. cities, and even went abroad to Canada and parts of Europe.


She Could Shoot A Playing Card In Half Through Its Thin Edge

Oakley and Butler joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1885. "Champion Markswoman" Oakley performed a number of sharpshooting tricks in the rowdy revues. She shot holes in playing cards, and could even hit the thin edge of the cards. She could shoot corks out of bottles. She could aim backwards and hit targets by simply looking in the mirror. Oakley also entered a number of shooting competitions, racking up plenty of medals and ribbons with her skills.


She Raised Money For The Red Cross During World War I

Oakley tried to join the troops during World War I, and offered to create an all-female regiment of sharpshooters. But her offer was turned down, as the battlefront was still considered the realm of men. Instead, Oakley spent her time performing for the troops, and assisted the war effort by raising money for the Red Cross. She also aided various military charities.


She Sued William Randolph Hearst And Won

William Randolph Hearst was a media magnate whose Hearst Communications owned hundreds of newspapers in the United States. In 1903, two of his Chicago-based newspapers published a story claiming that Oakley had an addiction to cocaine and, in the midst of a drug bender, stole a man's pants. This was untrue - the actual culprit was a Chicago burlesque performer posing as the sharpshooter.

Oakley sued Hearst for libel. She won a cash settlement of $27,000 and Hearst made a full retraction of the story.


She Became Friends With Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull, a holy man for the Hunkpapa Lakota tribe, became good friends with Oakley after he watched her perform. Sitting Bull reportedly sent her a note, as well as $65, in order to purchase an autographed picture of her. She responded with the picture, but contacted him personally as well, and the two struck up a rapport. He gave her a pair of slippers made by his tribe, and called her "Watanya Cicilla," or "Little Sure Shot."


She Out-Shot A Traveling Marksman

Oakley met her future husband Frank Butler when she was just 16 years old. At the time, he was working as a traveling marksmen, showing off his shooting skills to any available paid audiences. His main trick involved a series of 25 trick shots that he rarely missed.

On the day that Butler met Oakley, he offered to challenge local sharpshooters. Jack Frost, a Cincinnati hotel owner who happened to be in the area, ponied up enough money to pay for Oakley to take on Butler's challenge. Butler missing one shot, while Oakley made all 25. He was so impressed by her skills that he took the time to get to know her, and the two married in 1876.


She Volunteered To Lead An All-Female Regiment During The Spanish American War

The Spanish-American War broke out during William McKinley's presidency in 1898. At the time, women did not fight in wars - they were mainly on the sidelines, handling nursing duties and doing the soldier's laundry. So, it's not surprising that President McKinley turned down Oakley's offer of help on the battle lines. She offered to put together a regiment of sharpshooting women - complete with their own uniforms and guns so as to not cost the government a penny - and put them on the front lines.

Oakley made a similar offer during World War I, and was again turned down.


She Performed In Shows All Over The World

As part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and as a solo performer, Oakley traveled the world showing off her sharpshooting skills. She performed for royalty in Europe, and competed in a shooting contest at Wimbledon Common in 1887. One of the highlights of her career included performing at Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. She also acted in stage plays like The Western Girl, and had Thomas Edison use one of his new inventions - an early version of a video camera - record her shooting prowess.



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Thu, 19 Jan 2017 06:00:34 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/cool-annie-oakley-facts/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[The Tragic Life Of Juana Maria, The Lone Woman Of San Nicolas Island]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-juana-maria/setareh-janda

Anyone who grew up reading Scott O'Dell's classic Island of the Blue Dolphins was probably captivated by the main character. She is a young woman who lives on an island in the Pacific Ocean totally alone. Her entire tribe has left the island, while she remains behind. Many people may not know or realize that O'Dell based his novel off a real event and a real life: that of Juana Maria, the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island.

Born sometime in the early 19th century - no one knows for certain when - the woman who would eventually be known as Juana Maria of San Nicolas Island spent a significant portion of her life completely isolated from human contact. Though she would ultimately be rescued from her solitude in 1853, her future would be brief.

There are a few, very sparse Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island facts that historians agree upon that can be pieced together. Taken as a whole, they reveal a tragic, heartbreaking story of a woman who, even when found, still remained lost in so many ways. Like the Trail of Tears that Native Americans were forced to take to her East, Juana Maria's story is one that maps the contours of 19th-century Native American tragedy.


The Tragic Life Of Juana Maria, The Lone Woman Of San Nicolas Island,

There Were Only Around 20 People Left In Her Tribe By 1835

San Nicolas Island was one of California's Channel Islands. Juana Maria's tribe, known as the Nicoleños, had been living on the island for probably around 10,000 years. Their past longevity on the island could not protect them from future tragedy, however. In 1811 or 1814 - when Juana Maria may have been a small child - disaster struck. A group of Native Alaskan and Russian otter hunters attacked the island and devastated the local population. The tribe's population had stood at 300 people, and it was now reduced to dozens. By 1835, the population stood at around 20.


No One Knows Why She Was Left Behind On The Island

The rest of Juana Maria's small tribe was successfully removed from the island by Catholic priests in 1835. So, why was she left behind? There is no definitive answer. One story claims that she was absent from the group as they were being evacuated because she was out looking for her missing two-year-old child. Another story imagines Juana Maria jumping off the boat, believing that her little brother was still on the island. Whatever happened, an approaching storm meant that the ship departed San Nicolas in a hurry, leaving the woman behind.


She Became A Local Curiosity

When she finally came to Santa Barbara in 1853, the locals treated her like a curiosity, especially since no one could actually talk to her. She was dubbed the "wild woman." Newspapers reported on how she was acclimating to life at the Santa Barbara mission, even noting that she marveled at the horses around the mission and enjoyed coffee and liquor. She even performed songs and dances for people who came to look at the "wild woman." 


Her Tribe Was Removed From Their Island By Priests

In 1835, Juana Maria's entire tribe was removed from San Nicolas Island. They did not leave by choice: priests on the mainland specifically requested that the entire Nicoleño tribe should be evacuated. The priests' motivations remain unclear. Were they evacuating the tribe because they worried they could not sustain their livelihood on San Nicolas Island? Or, more sinisterly, did they simply want more bodies to convert? Like much of Juana Maria's story, these questions will probably never get answers.


She Died Only Seven Weeks After Finally Leaving The Island

Though Juana Maria found human contact again in 1853, she only got to enjoy it for seven short weeks. After living in solitude for nearly two decades, her immune system was quite vulnerable when she arrived in Santa Barbara. Indeed, she soon contracted dysentery. She tragically died on October 19, 1853, leaving essentially nothing but mystery in her wake.


Despite 18 Years In Solitude, She Was Discovered "Smiling"

After several futile attempts at locating the lost woman who failed to depart with the rest of her tribe in 1835, the Captain of a ship called the Peores Nada, a man by the name of George Nidever, finally located Juana Maria in 1853. In his memoir, The Life and Adventures of George Nidever, the Captain recounted the moment they discovered Juana, whom he described as an "old woman" busily stripping whale blubber. Instead of darting away from the Captain and his crew, she:

"smiled and bowed, chattering away to them in an unintelligible language." She was "of medium height... about 50 years old but ...still strong and active. Her face was pleasing as she was continually smiling... Her clothing consisted of but a single garment of skins."


No One Knows Her Real Name

There is a good reason that Juana Maria is known simply as the "Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island" to many scholars: no one knows her real name. Catholic Priests gave her the name Juana Maria only after she had been taken to Santa Barbara. In Island of the Blue Dolphins, she is named "Karana." But there is no historical evidence for what her real name actually was.


When She Was Finally Found, She Couldn't Communicate With Anyone

Juana Maria's solitude didn't end as soon as she was re-discovered in 1853. When she was brought to the Santa Barbara mission, she could not communicate with anyone. She was clearly speaking a Native language that no one could understand. So, after she had been found, she could not even tell anyone her harrowing story. To this day, scholars do not know what exact language Juana Maria spoke.


She Was The Last Surviving Member Of Her Tribe

Further tragedy awaited the Nicoleños who departed San Nicolas Island in 1835. The ship that took them from the island was the Peor es Nada, which translates to "better than nothing." Though the ship ran aground in San Francisco Bay, the survivors moved to the San Gabriel Mission. Unfortunately, lack of immunity to the diseases they encountered on the mainland got the better of the Nicoleños, and they all died. By the time Juana Maria reached the mainland in 1853, she had become the last member of her tribe. 


She Lived Alone In A Whalebone Hut And Cave For 18 Years

The ship that left without Juana Maria never returned. So she was left alone on San Nicolas Island for a period of 18 years. It is hard to say what impact total isolation had on Juana Maria. But she was resourceful and went about her life; she hunted seals and ducks and made clothing and a shelter. When her rescuers found her in 1853, they found that she had built a hut out of whale bones and was probably living in a nearby cave. 



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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:35:55 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-juana-maria/setareh-janda
<![CDATA[12 Works of Sexually-Charged Literature From Ancient Rome]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/pervy-ancient-roman-literature/laura-allan

Everyone knows the ancient Romans were brilliant thinkers, though a little on the weird end of the behavior spectrum. What you might not know is there's a lot of pervy ancient literature kicking around that shows the Romans were downright bizarre in their sexual habits. Their naughty-time practices ranged from garden variety orgies in ancient Rome to far more horrifying acts involving animals and young children. While some of the over-the-top perversity in ancient Roman literature can be seen as a sign of open-mindedness and sexual liberation, the most fiendish material shows a morally questionable perversion in the true sense of that word.

These works portray homosexuality, bondage, and other sexual behavior your snake-handling pastor might tell you sends practitioners straight to the fiery pits of Christian hell, but which the level-headed among you knows are totally fine and normal. Adultery is in there too, and while that can lead to broken hearts and crimes of passion, is totally justifiable under certain Roman circumstances. 

Other items on this list are violent, disgusting, and morally reprehensible. If you know even a teensy bit about Caligula or Nero, you know incest was just the tip of the iceberg with uber-pervs of the ancient world. It's important to draw a line between the two. Don't conflate homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality just because they both happened in ancient Rome. That's like thinking the guys on the Bruins teach at MIT in the offseason. 

It's hard to deny that ancient Romans were pretty sexually charged people, and that times have changed a lot since then. You only need to take a quick look at any of this sexually explicit Roman literature to know that for sure. Come on, who doesn't like ancient books with graphic sex? 


12 Works of Sexually-Charged Literature From Ancient Rome,

Ars Amatoria

If you're curious about wooin' and screwin' in ancient Rome, Ovid is happy to help. His Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) is a series of three books, the first of which explains how to find a woman, the second of which explains how to keep her, the third of which explains, for women, how to keep a man. In other words, this is one of the earliest self-help books, and it was full of sexual discussion. 

There are sections on how not to forget a woman's birthday and not asking her overly personal questions, as you might see in many self-help books. There are also kinky sex details. Ovid writes about how men can achieve their most intense orgasm and which sexual positions work best. In the third book, you'll find a sex manual for women, which tells them to play to their strengths:

"She who’s known for her face, lie there face upwards:let her back be seen, she who’s back delights. Milanion bore Atalanta’s legs on his shoulders: if they’re good looking, that mode’s acceptable. Let the small be carried by a horse: Andromache, his Theban bride, was too tall to straddle Hector’s horse. Let a woman noted for her length of body, press the bed with her knees, arch her neck slightly. She who has youthful thighs, and faultless breasts, the man might stand, she spread, with her body downwards."

In other words: make sure you look your best when it's time to hop on the D-train to Bonetown. The sex will be better that way. 


De rerum natura

In De Rerum Natura, or On the Nature of Things, Roman writer Lucretius suggests sexual sensation is the sixth sense. On the surface, his descriptions of sex are beautiful but technical, as if sex is a mechanical act. However, reading into his symbolism and poeticism, it's evident there are very racy things going on in the book.

As Lucretius writes, sex can be done hard and fast. It can be painful. It can be an act of addiction and compulsion, or it can be done for the sake of love and friendship. It can be  a violent act, one that is harsh for all parties. In his own words, Lucretius says:

"Into each other, pressing teeth on mouths- 
Yet to no purpose, since they're powerless 
To rub off aught, or penetrate and pass 
With body entire into body- for oft 
They seem to strive and struggle thus to do; 
So eagerly they cling in Venus' bonds, 
Whilst melt away their members, overcome 
By violence of delight. But when at last 
Lust, gathered in the thews, hath spent itself, 
There come a brief pause in the raging heat- 
But then a madness just the same returns 
And that old fury visits them again, 
When once again they seek and crave to reach 
They know not what, all powerless to find 
The artifice to subjugate the bane."


Satyricon

Satyricon, attributed to Titus Petronius (and thought to be written by Gaius Petronius, a contemporary of Nero), is an odd little piece of literature that employs verse and prose to achieve a uniquely Roman form of satire. It's erotic, comedic, and dramatic, and told in an episodic manner, as can be seen in Federico Fellini's bacchanal film Fellini Satyricon, which is based on the book (which we unfortunately only have in fragments).  

The story follows the adventures of Encolpius and his lover Giton, a teenage servant boy whose name translates as "Cuddles." Various people try to lure Giton away from his lover throughout the novel, and Encolpius pursues hella women on the side. The book has gay marriages, pirates, orgies with unwilling participants, and dark humor throughout. 

What's really fascinating in Satyricon is that sexuality between adults and youths of the same gender is acceptable and commonplace. It also shows group sex, such as orgies, as fairly commonplace, though not always consensual. As history shows us, orgies weren't happening every day, everywhere, for everyone in ancient Rome, but they did pop off from time to time. 

Because of its fragmented nature, Satyricon jumps between scenes. One such fragment goes into detail on a rather rapey orgy:

"We should have cried out for help in our unhappy plight, but there was no one to hear us and besides Psyche pricked my cheeks with her hair pin every time I tried to call upon my fellow countrymen for succor, while at the same time the other girl threatened Ascyltos with a brush dipped in satyrion. Finally there entered a catamite, tricked out in a coat of chestnut frieze, and wearing a sash, who would alternately writhe his buttocks and bump against us, and beslaver us with the most evil-smelling kisses, until Quartilla, holding a whalebone wand in her hand and with skirts tucked up, ordered him to give the poor fellows quarter. Then we all three swore the most solemn oaths the horrid secret should die with us."


The Golden Ass

Also called Metamorphosis, The Golden Ass is the only ancient Roman novel written in Latin that still exists in its entirety. And boy, does it paint an interesting portrait of how ancient Romans approached sexuality.

In the novel, a young man named Lucius gets into trouble while staying in Thessaly, Greece, and is turned into a donkey by a witch. It's like The Emperor's New Groove, only kinkier. Throughout the story, lovers cheat on each other, homosexual fantasies abound, women are wantonly seductive, and sexual violence occurs. What's interesting is, much of this sexuality is viewed as normal, or commonplace. More often than not, Lucius just shakes his head and moves along when he comes across scenes of fornication.  

Despite Lucius's general acceptance of all walks of sexual life, there's one bit in which he feels uncomfortable. In the scene, he's taken, as a donkey, to the chambers of a beautiful, lustful young woman, who declares without hesitation her desire to ride the ass. Though Lucius is aroused, he's also concerned; as a donkey, he could hurt or kill her, given the size of his equipment. Though he eventually engages her with his donkey dizz, he muses:

"But I was greatly troubled by no small fear, thinking in what manner should I be able, with legs so many and of such a size, to mount a tender and highborn lady; or, encircle with hard hooves her limbs softened with milk and honey and so white and delicate; or how, deformed, with teeth like stones and a mouth so enormous and gaping, to kiss her daintily-shaped lips, purpled with ambrosial dew; finally, in what manner my gentlewoman could support so gigantic a genital, though itching all over from her fingertips."


One hundred and twenty epigrams of Martial

Martial wasn't scared of ruffling feathers. He published 12 books of poetry, or Epigrams.  Some of his work was silly, some of it was romantic, and a lot a lot of it was really, really dirty. The dirty stuff involved poop fetishes, anal, and pederasty. Even more amusing and horrifying, some of these dirty poems written as odes. For instance:

"I had this really horny broad all night,
A girl whose naughty tricks are unsurpassed.
We did it in a thousand different ways.
Tired of the same old thing, I asked to buttf*ck--
Before I finished speaking, she said Yes.
Emboldened, I then blushed a bit, and laughed,
And asked for something even dirtier.
The lusty wench agreed without a blink.

Still, that girl was pure in my eyes, Aeschylus--
But she won't be for you. To get the same,
You'll have to grant a nasty stipulation."

Wouldn't you know it, Martial's poems were incredibly popular. He was well loved and well known in his lifetime, though faced some serious criticism for his social life and the obscenity of his work. 


satires

Male and female prostitutes were ubiquitous in ancient Rome. Author Juvenal took on prostitution and sexual slavery in his social satire. As was common in Rome, Juvenal had complex views of homosexuality. He condemned effeminate men and those who didn't reproduce, but wrote at length about male prostitutes and young men bought and used solely for sexual acts by other men. Such men are not uniformly portrayed as weak or effeminate, which shows men could be on the receiving end of anal and not disparaged for such. Of course, being that they were slaves, it's unlikely they were willing parties.

As with any satire, Juvenal's work can't be taken as indicative of society in a literal sense. Some modern scholars argue Juvenal assumed a literary mask, meaning he wrote from the perspective of the people he satirized. It's probably impossible to discern whether this is true thousands of years after the author died, so what Juvenal was satirizing remains subject to debate. 

Juvenal also wrote about lesbianism, in particular frenzied sex parties with slaves and their owners at which girl-on-girl activity went down. In the sixth of his satires, he wrote:

"Well known to all are the mysteries of the Good Goddess, when the flute stirs the loins and the Maenads of Priapus sweep along, frenzied alike by the horn-blowing and the wine, whirling their locks and howling. What foul longings burn within their breasts! What cries they utter as the passion palpitates within! How drenched their limbs in torrents of old wine! Saufeia challenges the slave-girls to a contest. Her agility wins the prize, but she has herself in turn to bow the knee to Medullina. And so the palm remains with the mistress, whose exploits match her birth!"


The poems of Valerius Catullus

Not much is known about Valerius Catullus, but it's safe to say he was fond of a lady named Lesbia. His poems show he was desperate for her, and generally obsessed with love, lust, and all the positive and negative things that come with both. While the language is flowery and romantic, the meaning contains more than a little lewdness and touches regularly upon homosexuality, in women and men.

Here's an interesting example:

"I did not (may the gods love me) think it mattered,
whether I might be smelling Aemilius’s mouth or arse.
The one’s no cleaner, the other’s no dirtier,
in fact his arse is both cleaner and nicer:
since it’s no teeth. Indeed, the other has
foot long teeth, gums like an old box-cart,
and jaws that usually gape like the open
c*nt of a pissing mule on heat.
He f*cks lots of women, and makes himself out
to be charming, and isn’t set to the mill with the ass?
Shouldn’t we think, of any girl touching him,
she’s capable of licking a foul hangman’s arse?"

In a different poem, Catullus gets a little mad at his former lover and goes out of his way to call her a slut while delving into their exploits:

"Let her live and be happy with her adulterers,
hold all three-hundred in her embrace,
truly love-less, wearing them all down
again and again: let her not look for
my love as before,
she whose crime destroyed it, like the last
flower of the field, touched once
by the passing plough."

In short: she hurt me, she's a whore, and she's probably sleeping with hundreds of people right now. Even the most romantic seeming poets of ancient Rome still seemed to be able to slander their former lovers with sexual rumors, if they were spurned.


The Elegies of Propertius Speak Of Forbidden Desire And Torrid Sexual Relationships

Sextus Propertius wrote quite a bit about love and sex, often taking a female point of view. Even when assuming the female gaze, however, his sex writing was violent. Where there's shagging in his elegies, there are bruises, torn clothing, pulled hair, and domination. The poetry is desperate, vicious, and portrays domination and submission in the bedroom

What's more, the man is not always dominant in these relationships. In some stories, the mistress is very forceful, and causes her man great suffering. This suffering is part and parcel of sexual desire.

"There is no constant faithfulness that won’t turn to quarreling: let cold women be my enemies’ lot. Let my friends see the wounds in my bitten neck: let the bruises show my girl has been with me. I want to suffer with love, or hear of suffering: I’d rather see your tears or else my own, whenever your eyebrows send me hidden messages, or you write with your fingers words that can’t be spoken. I hate those sighs that never shatter sleep: I’d always wish to turn pale at an angry girl."


The Sex Manuals Of Elephantis Were Picture Books Of Obscenity

The Sex Manuals of Elephantis are unique on this list because there are no extant copies in the 21st century. Elephantis was a well-know Greek writer, active during the days of ancient Rome, who produced graphically illustrated sex position manuals. She was adored by those kinky Romans.

If there are no surviving copies of her naughty little manuals, how do we know all this? Because Roman authors and playwrights wrote of Elephantis and the value of her work. Martial mentioned her work as helpful to inexperienced lovers looking to try new positions. Suetonius touched upon how widespread the works were in Rome. Tiberius was said to own a full set of her erotic manuals. Her name also comes up in the works of Pliny and Galen.


The Poems Of The Priapeia Are Obsessed With D*cks

The Priapeia is a collection of 95 poems, by various authors, all about Priapus, god of penises. The poems were found, not on paper, but on a series of statues of the god of d*cks. Some contain monologues in which Priapus congratulates himself on his sexual prowess, delivered to no one in particular in massive orchard, of which he was the guardian. 

Martial, Virgil, and Ovid all offered their two inches in different sections of these poems. Some of the poems are as eloquent as the following:

"Darkly might I to thee say: Oh give me for ever and ever
What thou may'st constantly give while of it nothing be lost:
Give me what vainly thou'lt long to bestow in the days that are coming
When that invidious beard either soft cheek shall invade;
What unto Jove gave he who, borne by the worshipful flyer,
Mixes the gratefullest cups, ever his leman's delight;
What on the primal night maid gives to her love-longing bridegroom
Dreading ineptly the hurt dealt to a different part.
Simpler far to declare in our Latin, Lend me thy buttocks;
What shall I say to thee else? Dull's the Minerva of me."

Other subjects addressed in the Priapeia include sodomy, bestiality, and masturbation. 



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Mon, 27 Mar 2017 06:24:07 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/pervy-ancient-roman-literature/laura-allan
<![CDATA[27 Photos Capturing Bizarre Moments In Science Throughout History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/informative-pictures-that-document-important-moments-in-old-timey-science/mick-jacobs

When absorbing it through a textbook, history can be a bit dry. Sometimes a little visual kick makes all the difference, bringing historical elements to life that would otherwise be constrained to text. The photos here commemorate a wide rang of historic moments, from space exploration to the excavation of ancient artifacts with huge significance. Scrolling past each one, you not only learn some fun new facts, you also get the chance to see them in action. 


27 Photos Capturing Bizarre Moments In Science Throughout History,

1928: Sir Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin

1939: A Lie Detector For Kissing

1967: The Remains Of A Cosmonaut Who Fell From Space

1970: A Leak From An Atomic Test

1950: Children In The Iron Lung

1964: Neil Armstrong And David Scott In Their Gemini 8 Capsule

1913: Examining King Tut's Sarcophagus

1980: The Space Invaders Championships

1975: Thomas Harvey Reveals Einstein's Brain

1948: Boy Watches TV For The First Time


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Tue, 28 Mar 2017 07:05:10 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/informative-pictures-that-document-important-moments-in-old-timey-science/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[18 Eye-Opening Photos of Children Throughout History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/all-the-crazy-stuff-kids-endured-before-1980/jude-newsome

Before the '80s and the emergence of childhood as modern culture recognizes it, kids experienced lives and situations that would warrant more than just an extra juice box and extended nap time. For all the love and adoration they receive, youngsters also must fend off the bullsh*t they're born into through no fault of their own. At the turn of the century children were expected to provide for their family, all while fighting off diseases like polio and typhoid. Childhood is all fun and play until someone needs the iron lung.


18 Eye-Opening Photos of Children Throughout History,

1915: A Girl With A Gun

1948: Kid Watches TV For The First Time

1974: Harold Wittles Hears For The First Time

1950: Children In The Iron Lung

1956: An Early Usage Of Animals In Therapy

1940: Babies In Gas Masks

1948: Children Put Up For Sale

1910: The Best Prosthetic Legs Of The Time

1923: Kids Playing With Worthless Cash

1939: Jewish Refugees


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Tue, 28 Mar 2017 04:08:22 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/all-the-crazy-stuff-kids-endured-before-1980/jude-newsome
<![CDATA[17 Rare Photos of Unique Women Throughout History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/pictures-that-capture-the-story-of-women-through-history/mick-jacobs

Captured below are images depicting women throughout different eras of history. As a group obstructed by sexism over many centuries, women often fail to have their actions or accounts recognized for their contributions. 

Depicted in these images are a number of firsts for women, simultaneously placed against many injustices they've endured for simply being female. It is a complicated gallery that reveals the complicated histories of history's oppressed sex, and how it still manages to thrive amidst systemic misogyny.


17 Rare Photos of Unique Women Throughout History,

1946: The Bikini Inventor And One Of Its First Models

1941: Women Firefighters At Pearl Harbor

1922: Women Arrested For Exposed Knees At A Pool

1839: Dorothy Catherine Draper, The First Woman Ever Photographed

1938: Judy Garland On Set

1901: Woman With A Box Camera

1899: Anne Oakley Shooting From The Shoulder

1990: A Woman Defends Her Home

1945: Women Soviet Soldiers

1945: A Soviet Sniper


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Tue, 28 Mar 2017 02:06:39 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/pictures-that-capture-the-story-of-women-through-history/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[Photos Of Horrible People From History Being Their Horrible Selves]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/photos-of-horrible-people-from-history-being-their-horrible-selves/mick-jacobs

While certain evil entities like vampires cannot be photographed, human monsters can be captured in their full, foul, inglorious selves. The villains here, ranging from assassins to war criminals to lousy kids, all found themselves caught on camera, in some cases belying their own horrible selves by partaking in normal behavior. Just because something looks okay doesn't mean it is, and these people are the exact opposite of okay. If anything, the photos below show that human monsters are the scariest, most unassuming monsters of all.


Photos Of Horrible People From History Being Their Horrible Selves,

1931: Joseph Goebbels Getting Married, Featuring His Best Man, Hitler

1970: Vladimir Putin With A Classmate

1882: Jesse James

1925: The Ku Klux Clan At A Fairground

1947: Rudolph Hoess, Architect Of Aushwitz

1964: A Racist Hotelier Pouring Acid Into A Pool

1945: Adolf Hitler's Last Photograph

1933: Joseph Goebbels Photographed By A Jewish Photographer

1968: L Ron Hubbard And His E-Meter

1963: Lee Harvey Oswald's Casket, Carried By Reporters


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Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:46:06 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/photos-of-horrible-people-from-history-being-their-horrible-selves/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[24 Historical Photos of People Doing Really Weird Things With Animals]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/weird-things-people-did-with-animals-throughout-history/mick-jacobs

When it comes to history, usually only the "human" side of it gets discussed. But as humans got their footing on two legs, countless other animals lived alongside them, and in many cases, beneath them. The course of "human history" never gave much thought to the organisms that may have to live in it, and the results are these batsh*t photos you see below. Tortured circus animals and confused cats are among the creatures present here, all showing sides of history that prove the most dangerous animal of all is the one reading this article right now.


24 Historical Photos of People Doing Really Weird Things With Animals,

1938: Mailing Animal Corpses

1949: Bear-Boxing

1910: Ponies On Antarctica

1930: Watering A Penguin

1944: Feeding A Goat On The Frontlines

1958: Cats In Zero-Gravity

1956: Queenie, The Water-Skiing Elephant

1915: Little Nap

1880: Horse-Diving

1845: Andrew Jackson's Vulgar Parrot


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Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:02:43 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/weird-things-people-did-with-animals-throughout-history/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[What Happened Directly After The American Revolution Ended]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happened-right-after-revolutionary-war-ended/aaron-edwards

What happened right after the Revolutionary War ended? It's easy to think the United States of America was birthed immediately after the British surrendered at Yorktown, but in truth it was a long, arduous process to transform the idealistic embryonic state to a fully-formed nation. It actually took several years of difficult diplomacy after the last British soldier surrendered for a peace treaty with Great Britain to be established. Not even the most insanely cool Revolutionary War hero could help speed up the process. It also took a long time for the British soldiers to actually leave American soil, taking loyalists and slaves with them back to England.

The real work began after the British left, however. History rarely plays out easily for anyone. With much toil and debate, the United States constitution was written after the country spent years languishing in economic hardship. Rebellions, disorganized states, and an ineffective Continental Congress threatened to destroy the great experiment that was America. Luckily, the country managed to get its act together and write the constitution we're still using today. However, it was certainly a winding, complicated road to get there. 


What Happened Directly After The American Revolution Ended,

The Articles Of Peace Were Signed

Though the British surrendered at Yorktown, the war was technically not over for some time. Peace talks began the following year in 1782 in Paris. Richard Oswarld negotiated for the British while Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams represented America. Eventually, the Articles of Peace were signed, which became the basis for the formal treaty several years later.  


The British Left Charleston

A large group of British soldiers occupied Charleston in South Carolina. The occupation lasted 30 long months before they finally left. The conditions of the exodus allowed the British forces safe passage, and the Redcoats in turn promised not to destroy the city. Both agreements were met. 


Lord North Resigned As British Prime Minister

The year after the British surrendered at Yorktown, the first Prime Minister of Britain (Lord North) resigned in disgrace. Before the war had ended, he had tried to put an end to the violence through diplomacy with the Conciliation Plan. It was basically said that the British would stop any mistreatments if the colonies just quit it with the rebellion. The colonies, however, continued the war.

By the time the war ended, North was exhausted by the tension between the two countries and couldn't handle the position anymore.  


The British Evacuated Savannah, Georgia

It took a while for the British to fully leave the colonies after their surrender. On July 11th, 1782, British Royal Governor Sir James Wright and military personnel fled Georgia for South Carolina. The goal was evacuate the colonies via the ocean. Several ships sailed for New York, while others went to Florida and the West Indies. Governor James Wright eventually returned to London and died there three years later. 


The Colonial Loyalists Left America

It's easy to think that when the Revolutionary War was raging in the colonies, most if not all Americans were in support of rebelling against the crown. The truth is that around 15 to 20% of the American colonists were still loyal to the crown and were unhappy when the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. Some of these Loyalists were beaten up by gangs of Patriots, who came to their house to punish them for backing the wrong side. While a number of people had the luxury of keeping silent about their politics, those living on the front lines often had to pick a faction and stick with it.

Therefore, when the British started pulling out of the states, many Loyalists left with them. 


Shay's Rebellion Took Place

An economic crisis swept through Massachusetts in the 1780s, forcing many farmers into intense debt. Unfortunately, the state didn't forgive their debt and many farmers lost their property or were thrown in jail. Naturally, this meant that people were very angry and upset. As rage continued to foment, the citizens took up arms against the government.

The governor of Massachesettes, James Bowdoin, assembled his own military force and crushed the rebellion. Siding against the rebels cost the governor public opinion, and he was badly defeated in the following election. 


British Troops Left New York

The last British troops left over from the war departed from New York in November of 1783. The soldiers left with thousands of British loyalists and former slaves. The event became a holiday known as Evacuation Day. When the soldiers left, they nailed their flag to a pole and greased it so that it would be hard to remove. Every anniversary of the event, an American citizen would reenact the daring of John Van Arsdale, a sailor who climbed the pole and replaced the British flag with an American one. 


Washington Resigned As Commander

One month after the last British troops left the country, George Washington resigned as commander of the army in Annapolis, Maryland. It was seen as a patriotic act that showed his commitment to the country over his desire for personal power.

After resigning, he went back home to his plantation in Mount Vernon. That is, of course, until duty called once again during the country's first presidential election. 


Congress Ratified The Preliminary Peace Treaty

The agreement set up by John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Richard Oswarld brought both America and Britain closer to the conclusion of the war. In 1783, the Continental Congress officially ratified a preliminary version of a treaty.

This allowed them to take a more fleshed out version of the treaty to Paris, where representatives from the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and France gathered. 


The Treaty Of Paris Was Signed

The document that finally led to the formal end of the Revolutionary War, the Treaty of Paris was the product of many months of negotiation and politics. As the result of the traty's final iteration, England had to recognize America as an independent nation, American fishermen were allowed to fish in Canadian waters, and England had to hand over territory between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River. America also agreed not to persecute Loyalists, restore property taken during the war, and not to block creditors who had debts to collect. 



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Tue, 28 Feb 2017 07:30:01 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happened-right-after-revolutionary-war-ended/aaron-edwards
<![CDATA[Agents of Death: The 13 Most Prolific Executioners In History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/most-documented-kills-historical-executioners/lyra-radford

Historically, white dudes with a taste for power have shown quite the proclivity for coming up with ways to make it seem as though some higher authority has sanctioned their bloodlust, be it god or government. Because of this, death sentences under these despots were handed out for everything from actual crimes to the random hogwash inquisitors made up after torturing someone into a confession. And you can be sure that those handing out the sentences very rarely did the actual killing. 

When state-sanctioned murder was big business, you can bet your bottom dollar there was a network of professional executioners out there looking to make a clean living with mean killing. While putting people down for a living is far from glamorous, there were times and places in which professional executioners were celebrities of sorts - admired, well-paid, and drawing in large crowds as they doled out punishment. Killing for a living ain't bad business. 

Whether their methods were gruesome or merciful, the most notorious historical executioners were just as revered as they were feared. Some were even given awards for their service from political and religious figureheads. Collected in this list are famous executioners with the most confirmed kills under their belts.


Agents of Death: The 13 Most Prolific Executioners In History,

Albert Pierrepoint

Albert Pierrepoint was first in the line of a family of executioners (his brother and son followed suit), but he was the most famous of the bunch. He was once considered England’s finest hangman, and - at the peak of his career - he executed 17 people in one day, killing somewhere between 400 to 600 prisoners before resigning in 1956. His career spanned over two decades before he suddenly quit and began campaigning against the death penalty.


Charles-Henri Sanson

The Sanson family was a six-generation dynasty of executioners that spanned over 150-years in France. Charles-Henri Sanson was the fourth and the most well-known in this long line of executioners.  During the reign of King Louis XVI and throughout the French Revolution, he executed around 3,000 people, including King Louis XVI himself. While he expressed remorse for all the lives he took, he especially regretted having to execute the King. He was hoping a rescue would be staged, but the execution was carried out. He retired as his health began to worsen, handing the reins on to his son Henri. Henri went on to secure his own place in history by executing Marie Antoinette.


Johann Reichhart

For Johann Reichhart, serving as an executioner was in keeping with the family business. After eight generations of Reichharts in the killing biz, his fate was essentially sealed from the start. During the course of his career, he executed an impressive 3,165 people.

At first, Reichhart served as the Bavarian State Executioner under the Weimar Republic from 1924 to 1929, after which he fled to Holland to escape his enemies. The Nazis desired his skills, called him home, and put him back to work in the '30s. Between 1939 and 1945, he executed 2,876 people.

Reichhart was one of four principal executioners for the Third Reich. For speed and efficiency purposes, death sentences were usually carried out with a Fallbeil, or “drop hatchet,” essentially a small, German version of a guillotine. While at work, Reichhart wore the traditional German executioner outfit of a black coat, white shirt, white gloves, black bow-tie, and top-hat and traveled throughout Nazi-occupied territory to conduct business. He once requested permission to break the speed limit in order to more efficiently travel from one execution to the next. Permission was denied. 

Once the Allies arrived on the scene, Reichhart went to work for them, executing war criminals by hanging. It must have slipped his mind that he was still technically a member of the Nazi party because he, too, was eventually arrested. He was not executed, though, just locked up and separated from his family. He died in a nursing home in 1972.  


Vasili Blokhin

Vasili Blokhin was named Most Prolific Executioner of all time in 2010. According to the Guinness World Records 2010, his accomplishment of shooting 7,000 people in 28 days makes him responsible for the most organized and protracted mass murder performed by an individual.  

The Soviet Major-General, equipped with a briefcase full of Walther pistols, executed 250 people each night. He averaged about one execution every three minutes. After piling up the bodies, Blokhin and his team spent 10 hours each night digging trenches to toss the corpses into. They’d have it covered up by morning, then pass around some vodka to unwind.

In April of 1940, he was given a monthly payment and received the Order of the Red Banner, awarded to those who showed “exceptional courage, self-denial, and valor during combat." After Stalin’s death in 1953, successor Nikita Khruschev stripped Blokhin of his rank as well as all of his awards and privileges. He sank into depression and alcoholism before hanging himself on February 3, 1955.


Franz Schmidt

Franz Schmidt, Nuremberg, Germany's executioner from 1578 to 1618, performed around 400 executions and hundreds of acts of torture, but apparently he wasn’t too fond of his work. Much of what is known about Schmidt came from his memoirs. Apparently, Schmidt's father was forced into becoming the town’s executioner, and the job was handed down to Franz, who didn’t exactly have any other options. He performed his first execution at age 18, his last at 64, and from what is described in his personal journals, he never became numb to the suffering he induced in others.

All Franz really wanted to do was be a doctor. Fortunately, he was able to serve as a medical consultant and practitioner on the side. He helped heal several prominent citizens and eventually achieved recognition for this. The Emperor restored his honor and made him a citizen of Nuremberg.


Anatole Deibler

Famous executioner of France Anatole Deibler, beheaded over 395 men with a swift slice of the guillotine back in his heyday. Killing was the Deibler family business, but Anatole reached celebrity status during his tenure from 1885 to 1939. He was even given the fancy title of Executioner-in-Chief back in 1899. Photography was also becoming more widely available at this point, and the press would hound him for interviews and show up in droves to his public executions. After his death, it was discovered that he kept detailed accounts of his executions and what France was like back in the mid to late 1800s. All 14 of his diaries are considered important historical documents and were purchased in 2003 for €100,249.


Antonina Makarova

Antonina Makarova was an executioner during WWII. She went from being a Soviet nurse, tending to the wounded, to straight up killing people for the Nazis. This switch came as the result of her capture by the S.S, who persuaded her to become an executioner for Germany.

On a daily basis, Makarova executed around 27 people with a machine gun at the edge of a pit. She was eventually nicknamed “Antonina the Machine Gunner” and performed around 1,500 executions, sometimes keeping her victims' clothes in her bedroom.

She married after the war and took on a new last name, but that didn’t stop KGB agents from finally tracking her down in 1976. While she was implicated in 1,500 executions, she was formally charged with the murders of 200 identifiable victims. She denied everything at first but soon confessed in hopes of leniency. This didn't really work, hover. She was considered a traitor and sentenced to death by firing squad for her crimes.


Giovanni Bugatti, Papal States Executioner Who Sent 516 Souls To Other Pastures

Giovanni Bugatti spent almost 70 years as the Papal States’s executioner during the 19th century, earning him the local title of Mastro Titta, meaning “Master of Justice.” Unlike many in his profession, he showed empathy for the condemned on occasion, offering a final pinch of snuff to those he called his "patients." 

Bugatti's execution methods varied and included hanging, decapitation with an ax, or the guillotine. For those who committed crimes of a brutal nature, he smashed their heads with a mallet, then slit their throats. Some were quartered and had their limbs hung from each corner of the scaffold. He retired at the age of 85, after performing 516 executions, and was given a lifetime pension by the Pope for his service.


Hajj Abd Al-Nabi Who Claims To Love Strangling The Life Out Of People

Hajj Abd Al-Nabi, Egypt’s official executioner, started out in life as an executioner of innocent animals. He found pleasure in killing, often drowning and strangling cats and dogs. He happily referred to himself as “little Satan,” and after honing his skills he became a professional executioner and has 800 (human) executions under his belt. And it seems Al-Nabi is no stranger to some critical self reflection, saying: "The truth is that my heart is dead, because executing comes from the heart." He has also vowed that he will continue showing up to his post even after retirement in times of emergency when he is needed most.


Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Who Bragged About Killing 18,000 People Even Though He Killed 6,000

During the Spanish Inquisition, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo was chief executioner under King Phillip of Spain. He was brutal enough to keep people from getting any funny ideas about an uprising and liked to brag about his kills, perhaps even exaggerating them a bit. His exact kill count is a bit fuzzy, allegedly he boasted on numerous occasions that he killed 18,000 people, and some have said he killed 8,000 people in just one day. His successor, Requesens, estimated that total to be closer to 6,000. However, over time, something in de Toledo changed, and he began struggling with his career choice and how it clashed with his faith. He wanted out and was forced to plead with King Phillip on multiple occasions before finally being able to retire.



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Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:05:34 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/most-documented-kills-historical-executioners/lyra-radford
<![CDATA[20 Rare Photos of World-Famous Celebrities In The 20th Century]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/rare-photos-of-celebrities-bein_-cool-in-the-20th-century/mick-jacobs

While its characteristics change over time, the concept of "coolness" remains constant: it's all about the attitude. Being hip requires personality; a bit of badassery will do the trick, and age need not stand in your way. If you're especially trendy, you'll be happening long after the moment is captured on camera, just like these 20th-century celebrities.

Just because they're in black and white doesn't make them any less cool. If anything, it's old school, which anyone will tell you is the best type of cool.


20 Rare Photos of World-Famous Celebrities In The 20th Century,

1960: Muhammad Ali

1930: Buster Keaton

1931: Sigmund Freud

1968: Arnold Schwarzenegger

1972: Debbie Reynolds And Carrie Fisher

1960: Alfred Hitchcock

1955: Walt Disney And Salvador Dali

1938: Judy Garland

1957: JFK

1969: The Beatles


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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:30:56 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/rare-photos-of-celebrities-bein_-cool-in-the-20th-century/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[30 Eye-Opening Photographs That Show The Untold Side of War]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/photos-from-history-that-transport-you-directly-into-the-heart-of-wartime/mick-jacobs

The 21st century is rife with conflict on a global scale, and the development of photo techniques allowed wars and battles to be covered like never before. But the physical front lines of war aren't the only images depicted here; hospitals, urban uprisings, and even soldiers at play come alive in these explicit, unapologetic, and, in the case of a tree in the DMZ, ridiculous photos. Their variety reveals changes in not only how warfare evolved over the years but also how daily life shifts as well. Men, women, children, and even animals all feel the effects of conflict in these wartime images.


30 Eye-Opening Photographs That Show The Untold Side of War,

1917: Hell On Earth

1945: Soldier Playing Dead

1910: An Improvised Gas Mask

1918: Fitting A Prosthetic

1915: In The Trenches

1968: Vietnam's Youngest Correspondent

1945: German Soldiers Viewing Concentration Camp Footage

1956: The Hungarian Uprising

1914: Christmas Day

1917: An Early Example Of Plastic Surgery


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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 02:29:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/photos-from-history-that-transport-you-directly-into-the-heart-of-wartime/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[17 Photos From History That Make You Feel Like You’re Travelling In Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/photos-from-history-that-make-you-feel-like-you_re-travelling-in-time/mick-jacobs

History often feels far removed from modern life, especially concerning topics and events that humans prefer to think they've progressed from. Given that the world can change in an instant, pieces of the past easily get forgotten or lost along the way. Luckily, the past remains alive through the practice of photography, ensuring modern human history shall always be documented.

The photos here offer a portal into the past to eras that will never be repeated, which is sometimes a good thing. Though you will never experience these moments entirely, you can gain a bit of insight into what life was like at that time, and how you may have lived.


17 Photos From History That Make You Feel Like You’re Travelling In Time,

1936: Designing Mount Rushmore

1917: The Postal Service Gets An Upgrade

1965: Los Angeles In The Midst Of A Race Riot

1928: A Picnic In Istanbul

1956: Segregated Fountains

1973: A Picnic On The Freeway

1932: Recording A Disney Soundtrack

1993: Pablo Escobar's Death

1940: Bomb-Struck London

1960: The Swimmobile


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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:27:33 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/photos-from-history-that-make-you-feel-like-you_re-travelling-in-time/mick-jacobs
<![CDATA[10 Common Misconceptions People Have About Geisha]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/misconceptions-about-geisha/tamar-altebarmakian

There are many misconceptions about geisha, namely the belief that they were fancy prostitutes. The pervasiveness of this belief has overshadowed the rich history of the geisha and devalued their skills as professional entertainers. After all, a geisha’s primary task was to entertain her clients through the arts and witty conversation.

The lives of historical geisha were very different from the West’s notion of geisha as well-dressed prostitutes who hung out at bordellos. Geisha endured grueling training to obtain their coveted title. Not only that, during the Edo period (1603- 1868) and for some time after, becoming a geisha was one of the few ways a Japanese woman could make a decent living and have a somewhat autonomous life. While the stereotypes of these artisans will undoubtedly persist, these facts about geisha shed some light on the overlooked and ignored history of one of Japan’s enduring historical classes.


10 Common Misconceptions People Have About Geisha,

Not All Geisha Were Women (The Very First Were Men)

The very first geisha were men called taikomochi. These men performed many functions over the centuries, from entertaining daimyo in a role similar to court jesters to singing, dancing, and telling jokes and stories. By the 17th  century, many had moved out of the court and into the private employ of courtesans, in which position they amused waiting guests. At the height of their popularity, in the mid-to-late 1700s, there were more than 500 male geisha in Japan. Their numbers dwindled as more women pursued the profession.

Modern day taikomochi are more like partymasters, telling jokes and interesting anecdotes and encouraging the drinking of more sake.


For The Most Part, They Were Not Oppressed

Obviously, women in the geisha community who were forced into prostitution were not liberated, but many geisha were free to choose how they entertained clients and enjoyed many liberties other women during the Edo period and even up to World War II didn't.

Geisha were among the few women who earned their own income; after they paid off debts to their geisha house (for lodging, training, food, kimonos), they kept most of their wages. Unlike most women during the Edo period, who received a limited education that revolved around learning how to complete household chores, geisha studied a range of subjects, including literature, poetry, and politics. Most women of the period were seen as little more than wives and mothers.


Geisha Evolved From Skilled Dancers, Not Common Prostitutes

In the late 17th century, it was a popular solution for parents in need of money to send their daughters away for singing and dancing lessons, in the hopes of eventually hiring them out. These young female dancers were called odoriko ("dancing girl"), and it's believed geisha evolved directly from them. The word "geisha" first appeared when these women hit the age of 20, and could therefore no longer refer to themselves as "girls" (20 is the age of adulthood in Japan). Among the various names they came up with for themselves was "geisha." 

Odoriko were highly skilled dancers. and part of their appeal to patrons was chastity. Over time, many odoriko fell into prostitution. The first person ever recorded as going by "geisha" was one of these prostitutes. This has contributed to the widespread belief that all geisha were prostitutes. However, the class of women historically known as geisha, who followed the lead of their male predecessors, working exclusively as entertainers, were not prostitutes. 


They Were Highly Skilled Entertainers, Not Cheap Company

Many believe geisha and maiko were primarily coveted for their looks, but their primary role was that of entertainer. In fact, the word geisha translates to "artist person." Geisha were trained in singing, dancing, playing the shamisen, and other performing arts. Through time, individual geisha earned reputations as experts in one or more of the arts they pursued, and patrons sought out geisha based on their expertise.


They Weren’t All, Or Primarily, Prostitutes

The notion that all geisha were prostitutes was popularized by the West when American servicemen stationed in Japan during World War II engaged in sexual acts with Japanese women who dressed and painted their faces like geisha. Experts such as anthropologist Liza Dalby, who conducted extensive research on geisha, argue these women, who adopted the name “geisha girls," weren’t geisha, but rather were imitating the appearance of geisha. 

Unlike traditional geisha, these women didn’t endure the rigorous training required to earn the title. They were also far less selective of their clients, as many geisha refused to entertain Americans. That said, the topic remains hotly contested in the history of geisha. While many argue geisha tradition has its origins purely in the art of entertainment, some maintain prostitution was always part of the profession.

Another factor that may have contributed to the misconception that all geisha were prostitutes is the practice of a mizuage. Before a maiko (geisha-in-training) could become a geisha, she might have to sell her virginity to the highest-bidding patron as part of her coming-of-age ritual. Although it was a one-time act, it linked the profession with the service of paying for sex. While this antiquated practice was outlawed in 1959, it undoubtedly still occurred, and may even continue to occur.


Not All Geisha Were Young

As mentioned before, becoming a geisha required long and relentless years of training, so it was not uncommon for geisha to remain active as they aged. After all, a geisha with more years under her belt would have more experience and presumably be more talented. These older geisha mentored young initiates who hoped to become maiko. Some of these geisha would even become the proprietresses of a geisha house.


Not All Geisha Performed The Same Roles

In the 18th century, the word "geisha" described a number of female artists. Shiro ("white") geisha were strictly entertainers; kido ("gate") geisha stood at the entrance of carnivals, playing shamisen to attract customers. Jooro geishas meanwhile, weren’t geisha’s at all, but prostitutes, closer to the traditional Western notion of a geisha.


Geisha Were Not Controlled By Men

During a time when women had little power or social standing, Geisha operated within a community run primarily by women. Women ran geisha houses and kept most of their earnings. After they paid their debts, geisha could branch out on their own, keeping most of their wages, with the exception of the fee they paid their house for sponsorship. Men were not allowed to make any decisions on behalf of the geisha. Despite living in a period which allotted women little to no freedom, geisha were considerably independent.


Becoming A Geisha Was A Lot Harder Than Showing Up With Your Face Painted White

In order to become geisha, young women had to go through lengthy and extensive training, which could begin as early as age three and last into the early 20s. A geisha-in-training was called a maiko, and was mentored in the ways of the geisha by her onee-san, or older sister. In addition to perfecting an array of performing arts, maiko had to learn calligraphy, Ikebana (flower arranging), and how to engage patrons in captivating conversation. They also learned how to apply intricate makeup, which after years of practice still took hours to apply, and how to style their hair.


Geisha Were Not Meek And Submissive

Many believe geisha were submissive and subservient, but the opposite was true. Geisha were expected to be lively entertainers, and were permitted to converse with men on a wide range of topics, a privilege many of their clients’s wives didn't enjoy. Because their job required them to be witty conversationalists, geisha were able to speak to men as equals.



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Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:56:17 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/misconceptions-about-geisha/tamar-altebarmakian
<![CDATA[The Whitewashing Of Australian Natives Left A Scar On History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-australia-stolen-generations-facts/jen-jeffers

Imagine that you're walking down the street with your family. Then, government officials pull up and forcefully take your children, your little sister, your brother. The reason? The color of your skin. For Australia's Stolen Generations, this nightmare was a reality for around 80 years. From 1910 and 1970, between one in three and one in ten indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and placed into institutions or the foster system. Rather than overtly wiping indigenous people off the face of the earth through genocide, this more subtle violence against Aboriginal natives stripped them of their communities and native culture.

This brutal chapter in Australian history went virtually unnoticed by the world for decades, until the heartbreaking stories of the families destroyed in the process began to emerge. Proponents of the removal had argued that children of Aboriginal descent would benefit from assimilation to white society, but in fact, the alienation and trauma experienced by members of the Stolen Generations made their lives immeasurably worse.

These heartbreaking stories and insane facts about Australia's Stolen Generations serve as a grim cautionary tale of government overreach, and as a reminder of the evils of colonialism.

Please note that the following list may contain images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


The Whitewashing Of Australian Natives Left A Scar On History,

Children Were Stolen While Their Parents Watched

A member of the Stolen Generations named Bill Simon remembers when he was taken from his mother in 1957. He and his two young brothers were getting ready for school when policemen and a man in a suit knocked on the door. The men took the boys, despite their mother's protests, and forced them into a car.

"My mother ran out onto the road, fell on her knees and belted her fists into the bitumen as she screamed," Simon recalls. "We looked back as the car drove off to see her hammering her fists into the road, the tears streaming down her face."

When Simon finally reunited with his mother in his 30s, she was remarried and had a new family. She rejected him.


Children Were Lured In With Sweets

An Aboriginal woman named Netta was just five years old when she was torn away from her mother. One day a policeman showed up in her yard and tempted her away from her house with a pot of apricot jam. Promising to give her some, he led her into a waiting truck - where she was whisked off to an institution in nearby Alice Springs. She said that children at the institution were treated "like bullocks in a paddock."

Netta eventually found her mother again, more than 30 years later. When the two reunited, her mother broke down and wept, "My girl has come home."


Guardians Kept Parents From Contacting Their Children

After their children were taken from them, many Aboriginal parents made efforts to find or contact their children. Some sent letters or cards that were never passed along, and the letters that did make it were usually brief.

"That was one way they kept us away from our families," an anonymous member of the Stolen Generations says. "They'd turn around and say to you, 'See, they don't care about you.'"

Children were also frequently told that they were unwanted by their birth parents, or that their mothers were dead.


Aboriginal Children Were Taunted By White Classmates

Just because Aboriginal children were told to fit in with white culture didn't mean white culture accepted them. In fact, as individuals like Maree Lawrence remember, it was quite the opposite. Her classmates called her "Blackjack" because of her dark skin and eyes.

Lawrence knew she had been adopted, and asked her parents if she was Aboriginal. They told her no - she was "probably just a mix of Spanish." Years later, she retraced her family and realized that she was a member of the Stolen Generations.

"A family friend can remember being in the hospital after I was born and watched as a nurse took me away from the arms of my mother as she fed me," she said.


Thousands Of Children Were Taken

Although the exact number included in the Stolen Generations is unknown, reports suggest that thousands of children were removed from their homes from 1910-1970. As many as one in three Aboriginal children were taken as part of the government program.

The Bringing Them Home report states that "not one Indigenous family has escaped the effects of forcible removal... Most families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children."


It Was Blatantly Racist

The reasoning behind the removal of Aboriginal children from their families was clearly rooted in racism. The early 20th century mindset held that Aboriginal culture was an affront to white dominance. The forced assimilation of native peoples into white culture was seen as a way of erasing indigenous heritage.

Light-skinned or "half-caste" children (those with one white parent) were frequently targeted for removal, under the belief that they would better adapt to white society. Once they were taken from their families, children's names were changed and they were forbidden to speak indigenous languages.


"National Sorry Day" Acknowledges The Stolen Generations

On February 13, 2008, Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologized for the treatment of the Stolen Generations. Thousands of people gathered on the lawn of Parliament House to watch the speech, as it marked the first real public acknowledgement of Australia's dark period. Previous governments had refused to issue a formal apology.

Since 1998, an annual event known as "National Sorry Day" remembers the mistreatment of Australia's indigenous people.


The Effects Were Devastating

As one member of the Stolen Generations said, "A stone has a direct impact when thrown into still waters but its rippling effect goes far beyond." Many people never recovered from the psychological, physical, and sexual abuse they experienced as the result of the Australian government's policies. Studies indicate that Stolen Generations members were more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and suffered from depression and loneliness.


Children Were Severed From Their Culture

Aboriginal children were expected to simply adapt to the white culture they were dropped into. They had to speak English, and were punished if they slipped into their Aboriginal language. Children weren't taught about their cultural traditions, and some were even lied to about their ethnic background.

Even children who were adopted by well-intentioned families felt that something was off. One man described the sensation to the authors of the Bringing Them Home report: "I've got everything that could be reasonably expected: a good home environment, education, stuff like that, but that's all material stuff. It's all the non-material stuff that I didn't have - the lineage. It's like you're the first human being at times. You know, you've just come out of nowhere; there you are. In terms of having a direction in life, how do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've come from?"


Children Were Beaten And Molested

After they were taken from their families, indigenous children were frequently taken to government-run institutions and foster homes. There, many of them experienced physical and sexual abuse. One individual remembers having his mouth washed out with soap for speaking his native language; another recalls being beaten and locked in a storeroom for three days. Many children, particularly girls, also reported being molested or raped by their supposed guardians.

One vivid account from a Stolen Generations survivor includes a description of a terrifying water punishment. Children who misbehaved were placed in water up to their necks, and were forced to stand there for hours.



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Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:21:04 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-australia-stolen-generations-facts/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[The Haunting Circumstances Around The Infamous Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happened-to-the-lindbergh-baby/cheryl-adams-richkoff

The 1932 kidnapping and death of the then almost-two-year-old Charles "Charlie" Lindbergh was the stuff of tragic melodrama. The case of what happened to the Lindbergh baby drew worldwide attention. After all, aviator Charles Lindbergh, Sr. was the most famous man in the world, having been the first person to fly solo and non-stop across the Atlantic. Everyone loved handsome and daring "Lucky Lindy," and the world rejoiced when he married the lovely Anne Morrow and produced the adorably blond and chubby "Baby Lindy." But on a cold March night in 1932, the child was mysteriously taken from his crib. Within just a few hours, the Hopewell, New Jersey crime scene was hopelessly contaminated, muddying the evidence forever, and further clouding the strange circumstances discovered by case investigators.

Eventually, a German immigrant named Bruno Richard Hauptmann was tried and convicted of Baby Lindy's kidnapping and murder. He was executed for his alleged crimes on April 3, 1936. However, due to the mysterious circumstances of the kidnapping, the many legitimate suspects in the case, and doubts surrounding Hauptmann's guilt, we may never know what really happened to little Charles Jr. We can all keep guessing, though, pulling together the random and eerie fragments of the strange circumstances surrounding the Linbergh baby's disappearance.


The Haunting Circumstances Around The Infamous Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping,

Two Members Of The Lindbergh's Household Staff Died Mysteriously When Summoned By Police For Questioning

One of the more eerie Lindbergh baby circumstances concerns the fate of Lindbergh household servants. Police suspected that what happened to the Lindbergh baby was an inside job. Until the sole official suspect, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was arrested, authorities rigorously and repeatedly questioned members of the Lindbergh household staff.

Chief among these was Violet Sharp, a woman who was in the employ of Anne Lindbergh's parents as a house maid. Since Anne, Charles, and their baby were not only frequent visitors to the Morrow home, but were also actually living there while their new home was built, Sharp was regularly pressed into the service of caring for the Lindbergh baby. Indeed, Sharp was one of only a very few who knew that the family would remain at the new home prior to the baby's disappearance. And this is why she was at the top of the police suspect list.

Sharp was called in for questioning twice, and neither was a pleasant experience. Aside from the fact that she was initially a candidate for suspicion, the New Jersey State Police were under enormous pressure to solve the crime and return the child. This was Lucky Lindy's baby, and the entire world was watching. The department's reputation was on the line. Under the circumstances, their questioning could be brutal.

Sharp did not help her case by lying to the police about her whereabouts on the night in question. And when the baby's remains were discovered and she was questioned again, she became agitated and very upset. Soon the police called her in yet again for questioning. But she was found dead, having taken cyanide.

The Lindbergh's butler, Oliver Whateley, who was one of the five people present the night of the kidnapping, was also repeatedly questioned by the police. He died, very suddenly, of peritonitis, the following year.


Eugenics May Have Played A Role In The Lindbergh Baby's Disappearance

Another side of Charles Lindbergh's personality and interests that remained hidden during his halcyon years of aviation heroism had to do with his enthusiasm for eugenics - or, the use of biology and breeding to produce a purportedly "superior" human race. Clearly, Lindbergh considered himself in possession of just such superlative genes. He was even an early supporter of Adolph Hitler's eugenics program. Later in life, Lindbergh pursued German women with the express purpose of uniting his own genes with those of a similar background. He fathered several children this way, along with the family he had with his wife, Anne.

So, how does his interest in eugenics connect with Lindbergh's possible involvement in his first son's disappearance? Some supporting evidence is found in the baby's medical records. At 20 months, little Charlie had trouble standing on his own, and some of his toes overlapped. Such was the worry over his health and possible diagnosis of rickets, that the little boy was given large, daily doses of Vitamin D and napped under a sun lamp. To his father's mind, such conditions pointed to inferior genetics.

Additionally, Anne Lindbergh's sister, Elisabeth Morrow, suffered from mental illness for much of her life. While Lindbergh was aware of Elisabeth's condition, and it may have served as another strike against the genetics of the woman he had chosen to have a family with, Elisabeth herself is still considered a suspect in what happened to the Lindbergh baby.

Author Noel Behn cites evidence that Elisabeth was resentful of her sister's marriage to the famed aviator and had once hidden baby Charlie in a "trash closet." There was apparently enough concern over Elisabeth's treatment of the baby that the parents forbade her to have any contact with their son. This presented a challenge because the Lindbergh family was living at the Morrow home while their house was being built. Indeed, little Charles was born at his maternal grandparents' home in 1930. So, Elisabeth had ample opportunity, at least initially, to make mischief and express her resentment towards her sister and the child.


Wood From A Homemade Ladder Proved To Be An Essential Clue

Focus on the homemade ladder used in the kidnapping began the night of the Lindbergh baby's disappearance. Though crudely made, it was quickly evident that its creator possessed carpentry and mechanical skills since the ladder was designed to expand as needed and retract into an easily carried compact piece. First checked for finger prints, then compared with the scuffs on the window sill outside the nursery, the wood used to construct the ladder was an important clue for authorities. A Forest Service expert named Arthur Koehler was summoned to inspect the materials. 

Koehler disassembled the ladder and inspected each piece of wood, every chisel mark and nail hole. He concluded that several distinct types of wood had been sourced to build the ladder, including one wood that was designed for use in indoor construction. He traveled to wood factories and processing centers to make comparisons, as well as comparing wood sources at the homes of the Lindberghs, their family, and friends. Koehler's meticulous efforts would prove useful later on in the case.

When Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested due to his possession of numbered bank notes from the ransom, Koehler had a new source to compare with his findings. High in Hauptmann's home attic he discovered a plank of wood that was a perfect match to a plank used to construct the kidnapper's ladder. Not all experts agree that this was evidence of Hauptmann's guilt, claiming that the wood in question was purposefully planted in the attic to implicate Hauptmann.


A Crushed Baby's Thumb Guard Was Discovered In The Lindbergh Driveway After The Kidnapping

Though they seem more a torture device than a training tool to the eyes and minds of people today, thumb guards were commonly used in the early twentieth century to discourage young children from sucking their thumbs. Young Charlie Lindbergh was among those children who were put to bed each night with metal guards placed over their thumbs. The guards were attached to strong string or metal chains, which were secured to a crib rail, one on each side. Placed thusly, a child could move about, to a point, but was physically unable to bring either thumb to the mouth.

Most accounts about the evening of March 1, 1932 make no mention of Charlie's thumb guards. But it was not insignificant when, nearly one month later, his nanny, Betty Gow, discovered a thumb guard exactly like Charlie's, crushed in the driveway leading away from the Lindbergh home. The discovery location was somewhat problematic for Lindbergh and the police, as their investigation already concluded that footprints in the grass and mud, along with pieces of the ladder, marked the kidnapper's path - on foot - in precisely the opposite direction from the location of the thumb guard. Questions concerning the contradictory evidence were never addressed and remains one of the more strange aspects of the Lindbergh baby disappearance.


Lindbergh Was A Regular And Cruel Jokester Who Had Faked His Son's Kidnapping Before

At the time of his son's kidnapping, Charles Lindbergh was considered the most famous man in the world, the premier aviator and a hero to people around the globe. It is not a stretch to say that the general public considered him above reproach. His friends and family also respected him, but they were privy to other aspects of his personality that were not so positive.

For example, Lindbergh enjoyed playing practical jokes. Sometimes these took the form of gentle teasing, but often his jokes bore a tinge of cruelty, unnecessarily frightening the recipient. Chief among his targets was his wife, Anne. The equally famous female aviator, Amelia Earhart, personally witnessed and was offended when she saw Lindbergh publicly trickle water all over his wife's silk dress, knowing it would be ruined.

When baby Charlie was discovered missing from his crib late on the windy evening of March 1, 1932, the baby's nanny, Betty Gow, was the first to approach Lindbergh and ask if he had taken the baby. According to her handwritten statement, Gow claimed she suspected Lindbergh of yet another of his practical jokes, since she knew he had taken the baby and hidden him before.

Authors Gregory Ahlgren and Stephen Monier discovered further details in their research. Apparently, Lindbergh had hidden the child in a closet only two months previous to his March 1 disappearance. Once the baby was hidden, he sent his wife and the household into a panic by telling them the boy had been kidnapped.


The Kidnapper Returned Little Charlie's Sleeper

Very early in the investigation, Charles Lindbergh encouraged communication between himself, the police, and the kidnappers. A series of handwritten letters and messages published in newspapers were the result, with the kidnapper demanding $50,000 in cash for the safe return of the child.

The author of the letters remains disputed to this day, since the man eventually arrested, tried, and convicted of the crime was fluent in German, but the letters suggest the writer might have been a non-German posing as a German. 

During the first weeks of communication between the parties, Lindbergh and the police demanded a token of proof that the kidnapper indeed had the child. When the seventh letter arrived, the sleeper Charlie was wearing the night of his disappearance came with it. It appeared freshly laundered, which gave rise to more eerie suspicion, but the Lindberghs identified the sleeper as belonging to their missing son.

Other items of Charlie's clothing were found on May 12, 1932, when his decomposing little body was accidentally discovered in a ditch a mere four miles from his home. He was found still wearing his white undershirt, by then heavily stained.


All The Initial Clues Pointed To An Inside Job

Initially, the New Jersey State Police believed the kidnapping had to be an inside job. For example, how would the kidnapper know the exact location of the baby's room? The Lindbergh's home was new; parts of it were still under construction when the kidnapping occurred. The family had not even officially moved in, at that point spending only weekends there.

But the kidnapping happened on a Tuesday evening. Who else but someone on the inside would know that the family remained after the weekend due to the baby's bad cold? According to Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the only people who knew the change in plans were her own parents and one of her parents' house maids who often cared for the baby. The only other people who knew the family's whereabouts that evening were little Charlie's nanny and the Lindbergh butler, who were in the house.

Further, State Police immediately noted that the baby's nursery had been wiped clean of fingerprints, even those that should have been present, including those of the baby and his parents. As the case evolved over the next few days, police and other investigators determined that Charles Lindbergh was maintaining control of the investigation and may have ordered the cleaning of the crime scene. 


Anne Morrow Lindbergh Wrote Vividly Of Finding Curls On Her Baby's Corpse

In addition to being a skilled and innovative aviator in her own right, Anne Morrow Lindbergh also authored a number of memoirs associated with aviation, family life, and the lives of women in the 20th century. In the 1930s, she published two volumes dealing with the pioneering aviation experiences she shared with her husband. Written around the same time, but not published until decades later, was a memoir and letter collection titled Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead.  

Included in that volume were the author's heart-wrenching thoughts on the kidnapping and loss of her first child. Six months pregnant on the evening Charlie disappeared, the terror and pain she expresses is palpable. In the memoir, she writes poignantly of the moment investigators discovered the baby's body and how some of his blonde curls "and fluff" remained. She did not record any suspicions of who had taken her son, but wrote achingly of her fear that she would forget the details of his face and how it felt when she held him in her arms.

Anne and Charles Lindbergh went on to have five more children together, though they did not remain in the house where they lost their first born. Several years after the tragedy, concerned over the media frenzy that still enveloped them, the family relocated to Europe for a time.


"Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf's Father Led the Investigation

Americans living today have likely heard of the famous Gulf War General Norman "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf.  But there was an earlier, also famous Norman Schwarzkopf, and he was the father of the Army General. He made his name and claim to fame during the Lindbergh kidnapping trial, at the time styled as the "Trial of the Century."

Norman, Sr. was the first superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, and thus played a large role in the investigation, arrest, and subsequent trial of illegal immigrant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann.

The police superintendent expressed concern over the handling of the investigation. Lindbergh wanted to work with the state police, but was not interested in help from the Federal or even local level. Additionally, Schwarzkopf claimed that Lindbergh was difficult to work with, wanting to control the entire case and act on his own. The lack of cooperation only further muddied an already corrupted crime scene and investigation.


Gangster Al Capone Was Consulted During the Investigation

Kidnapping was not at all uncommon during the Great Depression. Both children and adults of famous, wealthy families were spirited away by those hoping for a big ransom pay off. Generally, kidnapping was the act of those involved with organized crime. Handled in a swift, professional manner, victims were kept safe and returned safely when the ransom was paid. Among the many strange Lindbergh baby disappearance facts was that this, the most famous kidnapping case of all, ended so tragically.

Little Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was the most famous baby in the world. His father was known to be a millionaire many times over in an age when precious few could make such a claim. Even his mother was an heiress, her family settling millions on her at the time of her marriage. Everyone knew about the Lindbergh baby. He and his parents were superstars. 

So when the child went missing, one of the first suggestions Lindbergh made to the police was to consider contacting famed gangster Al Capone and ask for his advice. Capone, at the time imprisoned for tax evasion, offered his full assistance, but on one condition: his release from prison. Since the courts and law enforcement were not about to let that happen, the Lindbergh case had to continue on without Capone's sage advice.



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Mon, 13 Mar 2017 06:27:01 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happened-to-the-lindbergh-baby/cheryl-adams-richkoff
<![CDATA[No Way Around It: Japanese Internment In The U.S. Was Shockingly Evil]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-internment-camp-stories/christopher-myers

It seems impossible that the United States government would round up citizens and send them off to internment camps. But that's exactly what happened to Japanese Americans during WW2. From 1942-1946, families were forcibly relocated to designated areas and held prisoner. It's a chilling chapter of history that today's politicians frequently cite, some as a cautionary tale, others as a basis for future discrimination.

After the war, public opinion declared that the forceful internment of around 120,000 Japanese Americans was one of the most shocking things ever done by the U.S. government. The internment sites may not have had gas chambers like German concentration camps, but their creation was rooted in xenophobia and racism nevertheless - a 1980 investigation by President Carter revealed as much. Dragging law-abiding citizens off to remote prisons when they weren't even accused of breaking a law is a super messed up thing to do, and that is just the beginning of the story.

There are plenty of Japanese internment camp horror stories to be told. They're not easy to read, but necessary to understand how fear can undermine the supposed values of American democracy.


No Way Around It: Japanese Internment In The U.S. Was Shockingly Evil,

San Franscisco Declared The Japanese District A Slum

People on the west coast went to great lengths to purge their streets of Japanese Americans. In San Francisco, for instance, local residents and officials made every effort to physically remove citizens of Japanese descent, going so far as to declare "Little Tokyo" a slum area.

Articles published at the time illustrate unfounded public fears, which included "an attempt to create a Japanese-Negro anti-white-race fifth column." Even Dr. Seuss got in on the hysteria by drawing anti-Japanese cartoons.


The Internees Were First Herded Into Livestock Stalls

While the main internment camps were being built, short-term facilities housed the displaced Japanese Americans. These 15 "assembly centers" (and two "reception centers") were made from re-purposed racetracks and fairgrounds - the stalls that were once used to hold livestock were modified to hold people.

The average stay at these temporary facilities was three months, which is a long time to be crammed into a room that smelled strongly of horses, pigs, and cows. The living spaces were absurdly small at times. In Tulare, for example, there were only 2x4 feet of space per person, and in Tanforan three to six people had to occupy a stall designed for a single horse.


Some Internees Joined The Army

Despite their unjust incarceration, a number of internees volunteered to join the war. Even more Nisei joined up in Hawaii, where the internment order did not apply. Many of these volunteers joined the 442nd regimental unit. The elite regiment served in Europe where it won recognition for distinguished service and suffered heavy casualties.

Patriotism was not the response of all the internees, however. When the army started drafting Nisei from the camps in 1944, some, resentful of their imprisonment, refused to go to medical inspection when summoned. In all, 300 refused the draft. They were all charged with draft resistance, a charge that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld. They were later pardoned by President Truman.


Two-Thirds Of Internees Were American Born

American citizenship was not enough to keep someone out of the internment camps. A lot of Japanese immigrants suspected they would be detained, since the Constitution technically only grants legal protections like due process to U.S. citizens. However, they assumed their American-born children would be protected.

Tragically, Nisei, Japanese Americans born in the U.S., were rounded up along with their parents and herded out to camps all the same. Many of them had never even been to Japan. Further complicating matters at the camps, only Nisei were allowed to hold positions of relative authority within them. This upended family dynamics completely, with children outranking their parents.

Though German and Italian aliens were also subjected to internment on a much smaller scale, no comparable policy of internment existed for American-born citizens of German and Italian descent.


People Couldn't Bring Much With Them

As innocent Americans were shuffled out of their houses by armed men, they didn't have the luxury to properly pack for their trip. People were given little notice to "tie up their loose ends" before they were to report to the temporary detention centers.

Internees were basically only allowed to bring with them what they could carry. People took one suitcase each, filled with whatever clothes and essentials they could fit. They wore their best clothes, so as to not have to pack them, which gave the impression that Japanese Americans were "dressing up" to go to the camps.


Internment Was By Executive Order

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Under pressure from panicked citizens, west coast political leaders, and organized labor, FDR authorized the Secretary of War and any designated commander to "to prescribe military areas... from which any or all persons may be excluded." The order allowed the military to remove Japanese Americans from their homes and put them in patrolled camps.

Notably, the move was opposed by many in the Justice Department.


Accommodations Were Minimal

After construction was complete, the internees were transferred to one of ten internment camps from the makeshift assembly centers. Conditions at the camps were rough; they were built on unused desert or swampland, and extreme weather was a frequent problem.

Detainees were kept in blocks of minimalist barracks and shared common latrines and mess halls. The camps were surrounded by chain link and barbed wire fences manned by armed guards. Makeshift schools and recreational activities were established, and the internees performed most of the work at the camps.


George Takei Recalls Being Forced Into A Camp At Gunpoint

When actor George Takei was five years old, his family of five was forced from their home at gunpoint and sent to live in a horse stable at a local race track. After several weeks living in the smelly stall, they were sent by rail 1,000 miles eastward to the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas.

The grounds were surrounded by barbed wire, which Takei recalls seeing beyond the American flag as he was made to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Armed guards in sentry towers made sure no one attempted to escape. Internees shared one common latrine, ate "wretched" food in a mess hall, and shared barracks with other families.

As a child, Takei did not fully understand the gravity of the situation. As an adult, he has become an activist, warning of the real dangers of racism and intolerance. He has come to view the internment centers "as an assault not only upon an entire group of Americans but upon the Constitution itself - how its guarantees of due process and equal protection had been decimated by forces of fear and prejudice unleashed by unscrupulous politicians."


Many Families Lost Everything

Given only a week's notice at best before moving to a camp, many Japanese Americans had to sell their land, homes, and businesses at extreme discounts. Other property was confiscated, up to $400 million according to some estimates. The savings accounts of Japanese Americans were also frozen under the internment order.

If they couldn't sell, people had to leave their property abandoned, hoping that it might still be there when they returned. Usually, it wasn't - Mitsuko Hashiguchi, for example, returned to a farm that was utterly destroyed. In total, estimates value the lost property around $1.3 billion and the lost wages around $2.7 billion.


The Immigration Act of 1924 Blocked Immigration From Japan

The main reason why there were so many Japanese resident aliens in 1942 was that it was illegal for Japanese immigrants to become citizens. The 1790 Naturalization Act prevented non-whites and slaves from becoming naturalized citizens. Their American-born children, however, were automatically citizens.

In 1885, Japanese immigrants started moving to the Kingdom of Hawaii to perform backbreaking labor on sugar plantations. Many of them started looking to move to the west coast of the United States, where jobs were less strenuous. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 essentially opened the door for Japanese immigration: if the Chinese weren't allowed to come work in America, then the Japanese would.

This wave of immigration ruffled the feathers of some Americans, mostly laborers that didn't want to deal with the competition. With the help of some pretty rampant racism, these interest groups lobbied the government to pass laws prohibiting the further immigration of the Japanese. These laws culminated in the Immigration Act of 1924, which banned all further immigration to the U.S. from Japan. Japanese-Americans banded together to mount legal challenges to these laws, all of which were turned back by the Supreme Court.



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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 08:00:42 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-internment-camp-stories/christopher-myers
<![CDATA[10 Reasons Why Apache Chief Cochise Is One Of History's Biggest Badasses]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/rebellions-and-massacres-by-chief-cochise/amandasedlakhevener

The mid-1800s marked a turbulent chapter in American history. As the states were being developed in the east, the young country was also expanding to the west - despite the fact that those lands were already occupied. Among those occupants were the Chiricahua Apaches, led by Native American chief Cochise. The white settlers' westward push led to a number of clashes between the tribes and the U.S. forces, who sought to forcibly relocate the Native Americans onto reservations.

Who was Cochise? The Apache leader is something of a mystery. The exact year of his birth is unknown, although it is believed to be between 1805 and 1817. He died in 1874. Not much is known about his early years, but his later actions made him a well known - and feared - leader as he defended his homelands against encroaching colonialists. What did Cochise do to land him in the history books? By leading raids and waging war, Cochise inspired his followers for years.


10 Reasons Why Apache Chief Cochise Is One Of History's Biggest Badasses,

He Robbed A Stage Coach

After he was falsely accused of raiding John Ward's ranch and kidnapping his adopted son, Cochise's trust in the U.S. government and western settlers fell apart. In revenge, he began to rebel to scare them out of Apache territory. One of his first actions was to rob a stage coach, loaded with supplies heading west. Not much else is known about this robbery, other than the fact that Cochise kidnapped one of the coach employees. 


He Led The Battle Of Apache Pass

The Battle of Apache Pass occurred in 1862, when Cochise, his father-in-law Mangas Coloradas, and 500 of their men attempted to keep the California Volunteer Infantry from reaching the New Mexico Territory. However, the U.S. Army's new technology - howitzer artillery - kept the Apache from succeeding.

Shortly after the battle, General Carleton, who was now in charge of New Mexico's land, lured Mangas Coloradas into his camp under the guise of reaching a truce. His men brutally murdered Coloradas, further adding to Cochise's hatred of the U.S. government.


He Adopted Guerrilla Warfare Tactics

After the U.S. Civil War ended, the makeup of the settlers on Apache lands changed. Prior to and during the war, Cochise and his men had scared away many colonialists, but afterwards, they came back and started new ranches and settlements. They were well armed, and less afraid of Cochise's tactics.

Cochise didn't want to give up without a fight, so he adapted his methods and began attacking the new settlements on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border guerilla-style. 


He Raided A Mining Town

On September 27, 1861, Cochise and a number of his tribesmen attacked and raided a mining town in present-day New Mexico. The town, Pinos Altos, was one of the few still occupied by settlers, as most had fled the area due to Apache tactics. The miners fought back, leading to a bloody battle between the two groups. Neither came away a winner, although Cochise believed that he had successfully driven the colonialists away.


He Defended His People In The Second Battle Of Dragoon Springs

The Second Battle of Dragoon Springs took place on May 9, 1862. In revenge for the first battle, in which four men were killed, Confederate Captain Sherrod Hunter sent a group of his men after the Apaches. Cochise and his men had taken off with some of the Confederate group's livestock after the first battle, and the captain wanted them back. This skirmish left five Apaches dead.


He Attacked A Train And Took Captives

Although Cochise escaped Lieutenant Bascom by cutting a hole in a tent and escaping, five members of his family remained Bascom's captives. Cochise attacked a nearby freight train as it went through Apache territory. He killed almost everyone on board, with the exception of three Americans that he held for ransom in exchange for the prisoners held by Bascom. When Bascom refused to return his family members, Cochise tortured the Americans to death. In response, Bascom hanged Cochise's brother and two nephews.


He Ambushed Arizona Rangers In The First Battle Of Dragoon Springs

After Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, created the Territory of Arizona in 1862, the Apaches lost additional land. The First Battle of Dragoon Springs, considered a minor skirmish of the U.S. Civil War, took place shortly afterwards. The leaders of a group of Apaches - Cochise and Francisco - along with 100 other warriors, ambushed a small batch of Confederate Arizona Rangers. The rangers were on horseback, escorting prisoners to a Texas prison camp. Four men were killed in the resulting battle: three rangers and one Mexican stock herder who was with their party.


He Joined An Attack In Sonora, Mexico

One of the first battles that Cochise is believed to have participated in took place in what is now Sonora, Mexico. This area originally belonged to the Apaches, and was settled by the Spanish by 1847. As the Mexican American War unfolded, a band of Chiricahua Apaches attacked a settlement there. Not much is known about this attack, but it shows how expansive the land grab was on the part of the colonialists, and the lengths that the Apaches would go to keep their ancestral spaces.


He Escaped Imprisonment By Cutting A Hole In A Tent

In 1860, Cochise was falsely accused of raiding a ranch on former Apache land owned by colonialist John Ward and kidnapping Ward's adopted son, Felix Tellaz. Ward wasn't present when the raid took place, but he told the U.S. government that he believed Cochise was in charge of the raid and kidnapping. Ward asked the U.S. Army to rescue Felix and arrest Cochise and his men for the deed.

The army sent a small contingent of troops to the area, led by Lietenant George Bascom. Bascom lured Cochise and his men in with the promise of a meal and some entertainment - a peace offering of sorts. However, the Apache who attended were quickly arrested. Cochise proclaimed his innocence, and refused to accept a punishment for something that he didn't do. Once night fell, he cut a hole in the tent they held him in and escaped. 

Years later, Felix Tellaz confirmed that he had been kidnapped by a group of Western Apaches, not Cochise.


He Finally Accepted Peace With The United States Government

In 1872, the U.S. government offered Cochise a large reservation in Arizona if he agreed to cease hostilities. Cochise accepted the offer, reportedly saying, "The white man and the Indian are to drink of the same water, eat of the same bread, and be at peace."

Cochise died of natural causes in 1874, two years after the creation of the Chiricahua Reservation. His exact burial spot is unknown, although it is in the Cochise Stronghold area of the Dragoon Mountains.



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Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:00:40 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/rebellions-and-massacres-by-chief-cochise/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[The Untold Tale Of The Deadliest Shark Attack In Human History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/uss-indianapolis-shark-attack-story/aaron-edwards

If you've seen Jaws, then you know the basics about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Considered one of the most grievous disasters in the history of the American Navy, it saw the sinking of a US heavy cruiser towards the end of WWII and the gruesome loss of a majority of its crew. If the attack had been carried out just a few days earlier, the crew might not have been able to deliver the first working atomic bomb.

They weren't just killed when their ship sunk, however. No, their fate was dragged out for days. Some were attacked (and eaten) by sharks, some drowned in the endless waters of the Pacific, others died of thirst, and some succumbed to wounds sustained during the initial sinking of their ship.

The tragedy has been mentioned multiple times in films, but it has never really been done justice. The entire saga leading up to Japan's surrender is filled with death, heartbreak, and misery. For some, the entirety of that was felt in a small patch of water in the Pacific Ocean. 


The Untold Tale Of The Deadliest Shark Attack In Human History,

Many Men Died Of Thirst And Drowning

Unfortunately, sharks were not the only danger the survivors had to contend with. As they were surrounded by saltwater, the men had nothing to drink. Since they were out on the ocean for several days, many men died of thirst.

If anyone tried to drink the water, they soon became delirious with hallucinations.  Their life jackets also became waterlogged after several days, which made it much harder for them to stay afloat. As a consequence, several men drowned to death before the sharks could even touch them. 


The Sharks Played Mindgames

The sharks were constantly attacking the survivors of the Indianapolis, but sometimes they psyched out their victims. The survivors could see dozens of fins in the water. Apparently, the sharks would bump up against the sailors from time to time, but not necessarily attack.

Once lulled into a false sense of security, however, they did attack, and pulled their victims down into the depths of the sea. With each attack, more blood spilled in the water leading to even more bloodlust from the sharks. 


The First Morning, The Sharks Came

With all the activity from the night before, it's no surprise that sharks came to investigate by the time the sun was up. The survivors tried to stay together as they bobbed in the water, but eventually someone would break away and float off, carried by the currents.

Once someone was alone, the sharks would attack. It was reported that everyone could hear the screams before a body was pulled under. Only the life vest popped back up. These attacks went on for days. 


The Sharks Fed On Dead Bodies

While the survivors were definitely terrorized by the sharks, the dead bodies that would float up from the wreck of the Indianapolis gave the men some stay of execution. The sharks were just as happy to feed on corpses, and they were less trouble. 

Unfotunately, it wasn't enough to save many in the long run. The sharks were in a feeding frenzy, and there were only so many bodies. The survivors endured days of shark attacks. 


The Ship Sent Out Distress Signals, But They Were Ignored

Even as the ship exploded and sank, brave souls aboard the Indianapolis sent out SOS signals until they were unable to do so. For unknown reasons, those SOS signals were received by the Navy but not taken seriously.

When the ship failed to arrive on time to her destination, no one grew suspicious. No search parties were sent out to look for the ship or its survivors. 


It Was Torpedoed By A Japanese Submarine

Just after midnight on July 30th, 1945, a Japanese submarine hit the Indianapolis with two torpedoes. The resulting explosion split the ship, leading it to sink in just 12 minutes. Soon after, the order came to abandon ship, but it was too late for some.

300 men were trapped inside when the ship went down, never to emerge again. Another 900 went into the water, where an arguably worse fate awaited them. 


The 900 Initial Survivors Were In Trouble From The Start

As the Indianapolis was destroyed, the resulting chaos led to many injuries and a lack of proper equipment for survivors. Many men didn't have time to get life jackets, which meant that they were constantly fighting to stay afloat. The ones who did have life jackets simply bobbed in the water helplessly.

Other sailors were injured, suffering gashes or broken bones with no way to properly treat their wounds. To make matters worse, almost everyone was covered in the fuel that had seeped out of the wreckage of the ship. Some men died in each other's arms.


The Ship Delivered The First Operational Atomic Bomb

On July 26th, 1945, the Indianapolis completed its mission: delivering the first operational atomic bomb to the island of Tinian. It was, in fact, the same bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima just days later.

After making the delivery, the Indianapolis was ordered to join the USS Idaho in the Philippines in preparation for an invasion of the Japanese mainland.  On its own, the Indianapolis departed for its new destination at 17 knots. That night, however, she would find her journey come to abrupt and violent halt. 


The Survivors Made A Makeshift Raft

On the third day, several survivors found crates floating nearby and lashed them together. Though one would think they'd climb aboard this as a raft, they actually used it as a way to dry out their life jackets.

They'd wring them out, throw them on top of the raft, and put them back on when they were dry. This allowed more men to stay afloat for longer. Luckily, the men also found some partially rotten potatoes in the crates, which they carefully rationed to sustain themselves. 


The Survivors Weren't Discovered For Almost Five Days

On 11 AM of the fourth day, the survivors were accidentally discovered by Lt. Wilbur C. Gwinn, who was flying a bomber on patrol. He immediately radioed for help. The nearby destroyer USS Cecil Doyle was alerted and the captain diverted his ship to the survivors on his own personal authority.

Lt. Adrian Marks, the pilot of a seaplane assigned to help rescue efforts, dropped rafts and supplies. After seeing the survivors attacked by sharks, he used his plane to pick up the lone sailors most at risk of being eaten. Marks's efforts saved 56 men that day, and his plane became so full he had to tie survivors to the wings with parachute cords. 



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Fri, 09 Sep 2016 07:38:28 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/uss-indianapolis-shark-attack-story/aaron-edwards
<![CDATA[14 Last Minute Decisions That Completely Changed World History Forever]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/split-second-decisions-changed-history/stephanroget

History can change in an instant. A wrong turn, an off-the-cuff statement, or a single shot can forever alter the course of the world and the people in it. Sometimes, history can be changed completely by accident, with observers and participants having no idea what a monumental moment they just witnessed. More commonly, however, the world changes on purpose, through intentional, measured decisions that change the course of history. Sometimes, these choices are made by world leaders or others who have been selected by their peers to make such decisions. Other times, it’s average people deciding what they think is best for the rest of the population.

In an ideal situation, these monumental decisions are made with plenty of time to consider the pros and cons. However, that’s not always possible. Sometimes, choices have to be made quickly, and everyone has to live with the consequences. These split-second decisions that changed the world are both fascinating and humbling, a reminder to everyone of the potential weight of their words and actions.


14 Last Minute Decisions That Completely Changed World History Forever,

Stanislav Petrov Single-Handedly Saved The World From Nuclear War

Everyone in the world owes a great debt of gratitude to Stanislav Petrov, yet few even know his name. If not for Petrov, a nuclear war would almost certainly have erupted between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it would have devastated humankind.

On September 26, 1983, Petrov was working at his job monitoring the Soviets’ early warning systems. Several sensors went off, indicating that the United States had launched missiles towards them, which meant it was Petrov’s job to begin returning fire. Sensing something was amiss, he quickly decided to delay telling his superiors, knowing the awful repercussions for the world if he did. Faced with such a decision, weighing the potential for apocalyptic warfare against the profound personal repercussions if he was mistaken, Petrov hesitated. Eventually, the triggered sensors proved to be a false alarm, meaning that Petrov’s decision to disobey his duty - a deliberate disavowal - saved not just his country, but also the world.


Johann Rall Lost The Revolutionary War Because He Didn't Want His Poker Game Interrupted

Johann Rall is a lesser-known German Colonel who commanded the Hessian troops that aided the British in the Revolutionary War. Rall is most notable for being the victim of George Washington’s near-mythic crossing of the Delaware, but he needn’t have been. Rall was handed intelligence about Washington’s crossing the night before it happened, but the note was in English, which he didn’t read, and he was busy playing chess, or poker, according to some accounts. Rall decided to stuff the note in his pocket and leave it for later, but there was no later for him, as he was shot in the fighting to come.


Gavrilo Princip And A Wrong Turn Brought On WWI

Gavrilo Princip thought he missed out on his shot to alter history. He was part of a Bosnian militant group that sought to oust the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and that meant he had a problem with Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Princip and others planned to assassinate Ferdinand as his car paraded by. They threw a bomb under the car, but the explosion was delayed, and Ferdinand escaped unharmed. Awhile later - on the fateful June 28, 1914 - Ferdinand decided to visit the victims of the attack at a local hospital, and he instructed his driver to take a different route than the one he was on before. The driver took a wrong turn, ended up on the exact same street, and drove right by Gavrilo Princip, who was still there. Princip couldn’t believe his luck, and he walked up to take the shot that would spark World War I.


Lazy Reading Brought Down The Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall, which occurred in 1989, is one of the most important moments of the 20th century. It also, sort of, happened by accident. Guenter Schabowski, a spokesman for the East German Politburo, was hosting a press conference about the possibilities of East Germany allowing travel through the Wall. Here's the thing: right before the press conference, Shabowski received a memo from Politburo updating him on what to say, but he didn't read the whole thing.

After nearly an hour of speaking, Schabowski got a bit muddled and confused about what was actual policy and what only the Politburo were discussing, and he overestimated the contents of that pre-conference memo. He mentioned opening their fortified border and travel possible for every citizen, which got the attention of the room. When a reporter asked when the changes would take effect, and another shouted “Immediately?!” Schabowski responded with a distracted “Immediately. Right away.” This wasn’t entirely accurate, but word quickly got out, and the rest is history.


The 'Desert Fox,' Erwin Rommel, Decided To Surprise His Wife With Vacation Right Before D-Day

The storming of Normandy on D-Day is perhaps the single most important moment in World War II - at least from an Allied perspective. It also may have gone a completely different way if not for a surprise birthday party. German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, was in charge of the defense at Normandy, but he decided on a whim to surprise his wife with a vacation for her birthday. This caused him to leave his post for a few days, coincidentally right before the Allies attacked. Had the most skilled German military tactician been present, things could have turned out differently. The panicked Nazis were unable to rouse a sleeping Hitler, throwing their troops into further confusion, and the landing was a success. Had Rommel been there, the response would have been much stronger.


Buddy Holly’s Desire To Do Laundry Changed Rock History

One of the most infamous moments in music history is February 3, 1959, otherwise known as “The Day The Music Died.” That day, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, all famous musicians, were killed when their small plane crashed in Iowa. As it turns out, they were only on that plane due to a rash, and seemingly inconsequential, decision by Holly. They had all been on the road for a while and were beginning to run out of clean clothes. They were scheduled to take a bus to their next show in Minnesota, but Holly really wanted some clean underwear and convinced the others to charter a plane with him so they could arrive early and do everyone’s laundry. This desire for fresh skivvies proved to be fatal.


Clouds Saved Kokura From Nuclear Attack

For such a monumental couple of events, the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not planned in incredible detail. The United States wasn't even sure they were going to use nuclear weapons until not long before they were dropped, and their list of potential target cities was large. The US didn’t really care which Japanese cities it bombed, as their surrender was nearly guaranteed in the face of this awe-inspiring weapon. The original plan was for Kokura to be hit right after Hiroshima, but a young crewman named Kermit Beahan determined it was too cloudy to see all of Kokura, so he called it off. This was a lucky break for Kokura, but not so much for Nagasaki, the secondary option.


Teddy Roosevelt Saved His Own Life By Putting A Thick Speech In His Breast Pocket

Teddy Roosevelt, easily America’s most action movie-esque President, loved to make grand speeches. In 1912, while making another run at the Presidency as the leader of a new political party, the Progressives, Roosevelt had prepared a 50-page diatribe that he aimed to deliver to a waiting audience. Before heading there, Roosevelt randomly decided to fold up the speech and place it in his breast pocket, a small decision that soon saved his life. When standing to address the crowd, an assailant shot Roosevelt in the chest, but the bullet was greatly slowed by the massive hunk of paper in his pocket. Of course, being the bull moose that he was, Teddy still got up on that stage and delivered one hell of a speech, even with a piece of lead lodged inside his body.


A Last Minute Officer Change Doomed The Titanic

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the greatest naval tragedies in history, even if half of the populace thinks it’s an entirely fictional Leonardo DiCaprio film. The ship, famously described as “unsinkable,” hit an iceberg in the Atlantic and, well, sank shortly thereafter. There is plenty of blame to be passed around for the massive loss of life on that night, but one portion belongs to a last-minute decision to switch officers. Second Officer David Blair was removed from the crew just before the ship set sail, and he totally forgot to hand in his key to a locker that contained binoculars for the lookout. The ship had set off before he realized, and so the crew had to watch for icebergs using only their eyes. Obviously, this proved woefully inadequate.


MLK Improvised “I Have A Dream”

If there’s one Martin Luther King Jr. quote that everyone knows, it’s “I have a dream!” This line came as part of a powerful and inspiring speech on civil rights delivered by the Reverend on August 27, 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In it, King espoused his vision of a future that included racial harmony, framed around the idea of a “dream” he had. However, originally, there wasn’t meant to be any mention of dreaming. King had an entire speech written and prepared, but when Mahalia Jackson, a gospel singer in the audience, shouted “tell ‘em about the dream,” King started to improvise. He began speaking from the heart, not his prepared notes, and the result was perhaps the greatest example of public speaking in American history.



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Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:15:44 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/split-second-decisions-changed-history/stephanroget
<![CDATA[The 16 Dumbest Fashion Trends in History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-fashion-trends-from-history/lisa-waugh

Crazy fashion trends from history teach contemporary clothes horses a few things. One, people will go to ridiculous lengths to prove their station in society. They’ll nearly break their necks by teetering on towering platform shoes, hobble themselves with skirts, and bind themselves up in an organ-shifting corset, all in the name of style. And two, exaggeration is key. From hugely padded sleeves to large embroidered codpieces, true devotes of trends believed that bigger was better.

Weird fashion trends from history were frequently dangerous as well. Vivid dyes could be made with toxic arsenic, while voluminous crinolines could easily catch on fire. Even if the clothing wasn't fatal, a lot of these crazy fashion trends from history seriously impaired a person’s ability to live a normal life. People who wore bliauts couldn’t really use their arms. Men who donned crakowes found walking a bit problematic. And extra wide panniers kept women from fitting through narrow doors.

Whether they're deadly or just plain nuts, you can be thankful these fashion trends are in the past.


The 16 Dumbest Fashion Trends in History,

Corsets

Corsets have been around in one form or another since the 5th century. They were originally made of stiffened fabric, and then evolved into cage-like contraptions made from whalebone, wood, or steel. Corsets caused organs to shift around, and caused indigestion and constipation - but they weren't deadly.

There’s a lot of misinformation about the corset, as Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, explains. "Most people today think corsets were extremely dangerous and caused all kinds of health problems, from cancer to scoliosis," Steele says. "And that’s quite inaccurate. Most of the diseases that have been credited to corsets, in fact, had other causes. Corsets did not cause scoliosis, the crushing of the liver, cancer, or tuberculosis. It doesn’t mean that corsets were without any health problems, but it does mean that most modern people are wildly naive in believing the most absurd antiquated medical accusations about corsetry."


Codpieces

15th and 16th century men sought to accentuate their packages with codpieces. They were often made of padded cloth or embroidered fabric, though metal codpieces were also worn. Held in place with buttons, strings, or ties, the codpiece was designed to draw praise and raise a man’s profile. Even the name was knowingly bawdy - "cod" was slang for scrotum.

But French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wasn’t having it, calling out the hypocrisy of the device. In the 1580s, he deemed the codpiece "an empty and useless model of a member that we cannot even decently mention by name, which however we show off and parade in public."

Codpieces eventually fell out of fashion as doublet styles changed and breeches became more billowing.


Lotus Shoes

Lotus shoes were worn by Chinese girls with bound feet. For centuries, families repeatedly broke and folded the feet of their young daughters to create the tiny feet that epitomized femininity. The foot was bound with long ribbons to prevent growth. If the toes withered and fell off, even better. The process usually took between two to three years, and the girl’s feet were bound for the rest of her life.

Women with bound feet wore Lotus shoes, cone or sheath-shaped footwear that resembled a lotus bud. The shoes were made of silk or cotton and were usually ornate, embroidered with flowers, animals, and other traditional patterns. 

There were many attempts to ban foot binding throughout history. It was officially outlawed in 1912, though the practice was still carried out in secret in some areas of China for years after.


Bombasts

The exaggerated body stuffing known as bombast was popular with both women and men during the 16th century. Cotton, wool, or even sawdust was used to add volume to areas of clothing, particularly the sleeves. Men sometimes filled their doublets to give the illusion of a fuller belly, or padded their calves to look more muscular.


Crakowes

Also known as the poulaine, this super long shoe reigned supreme with men across Europe in the late 14th century. The shoes were named after Krákow, Poland because they were introduced to England by Polish nobles. Once the shoes were seen at court, they became all the rage - even though the shoes were six to twenty-four inches long. But they were a quick indicator of social status: the longer the shoe, the higher the wearer's station.

Chains were sometimes strung from the toe of the crakow to the knee to allow the wearer to walk. Sometimes the toes were stuffed with material for the same reason. They were considered ridiculous, vain, and dangerous by many conservatives and church leaders, who called them "devil's fingers."


Panniers

Panniers (from the French word "panier," meaning "basket") were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. The boxed petticoat expanded the width of skirts and dresses, and stood out on either side of the waistline. Panniers varied in size and were made of whalebone, wood, metal, and sometimes reeds. Extremely large panniers were worn mostly on special occasions and reflected the wearer’s social status. Servants wore smaller hoops. Two noblewomen, however, couldn’t walk through an entrance at the same time or sit on a couch together. The device was also uncomfortable, limiting movement and activity. 

The expansive pannier sparked ridicule. A satirical article in The Gentleman’s Magazine, written in 1750, portrayed women as being sick of the burden of the style. "We pass along, as it were, balancing between two scales. Every person we meet, every post we pass, and every corner we turn, incumber [sic] our way, and obstruct our progress. We fit in a chair hid up to our very ears on either side, like a swan with her head between her lifted wings. The whole side of a coach is hardly capacious enough for one of us," a passage read.


Arsenic Dresses

Bottle-green dresses were all the rage in the Victorian era, and they had price tags to match. To achieve this lovely shade of green, the fabric was dyed using large amounts of arsenic. Some women suffered nausea, impaired vision, and skin reactions to the dye. But the dresses were only worn on special occasions, limiting exposure to the arsenic in the fabric. The garment makers were the real sufferers - many died to bring this trend to the fashionable set.


Crinolines

The crinoline, also known as the hoop skirt, was a bell-shaped device that pushed the volume of skirts to an extreme degree. Worn in the 1800s by Victorian women, crinolines were originally petticoats made of linen stiffened with horsehair. Later, the invention of the steel cage crinoline offered the same voluminous look without the extra heat and bulk of thick petticoats.

These undergarments were unwieldy, but they were also dangerous. In 1858, a young woman in Boston died when her large skirt caught embers from a fireplace in her parlor and went up in flames. Nineteen such deaths occurred in a two-month period.


Hobble Skirts

In the 1910s, French designer Paul Poiret - dubbed "The King of Fashion" in America - debuted the hobble skirt. The long, close-fitting skirts forced women who wore them to adopt mincing, tiny steps.

True, Poiret's design liberated women from heavy petticoats and constricting corsets. But as he said, "Yes, I freed the bust. But I shackled the legs."


Breast Flatteners

During the Roaring '20s, the hourglass shape gave way to the boyish flapper figure and underwear got an overhaul. The goal of every undergarment was to flatten the breasts and torso, so that flapper dresses could hang straight down without any curvaceous interruptions.

Corset-makers R. & W.H. Symington invented a garment, the Symington Side Lacer, that would flatten the breasts. The wearer would slip the garment over her head and pull the straps and side laces tight to smooth out curves. Other manufacturers designed similar devices. The Miracle Reducing Rubber Brassiere was "scientifically designed without bones or lacings," while the Bramley Corsele combined the brassiere and corset into one piece that easily layered under dresses.



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Fri, 10 Feb 2017 07:59:43 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-fashion-trends-from-history/lisa-waugh
<![CDATA[The Most Destructive Epidemics In Human History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/insane-epidemics-that-threatened-humanity/amber-fua

The world is swarming with deadly disease, and the history of humanity can certainly attest to this fact. There have been many instances spanning our existence of historic epidemics that threatened humanity.

While we are typically alarmed by more modern diseases and viruses such as AIDS or influenza, there are many scary health epidemics that have been known to resurface over time. These illnesses that almost wiped out humans seem like something that could only happen in the distant past, but be warned. If we're not careful, future diseases could threaten to end humanity as we know it


The Most Destructive Epidemics In Human History,

The Typhus Outbreak In World War I Caused Three Million Deaths

Death count: At least 3 million

Though typhus has caused many epidemics in history, it was a major factor in World War I fatalities. It caused 3 million deaths in Russia alone – not to mention even more in Poland and Romania.

Western troops were provided de-lousing stations as a preventative caution, but typhus devastated many Eastern armies. Anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of those infected died, and the disease was also responsible for the deaths of doctors and nurses who were treating many affected by it. Many people point to the typhus outbreak as an example of what people should do in the face of an epidemic. It ended very quickly because doctors and researchers from various communities immediately began addressing the issue and searching for a cure. There is now a vaccine for the disease, and it's extremely rare in the world.


The Black Death Wiped Out Millions In The Middle Ages

Death Count: 200 million

The most notorious pandemic in history is The Black Death. This outbreak of bubonic plague decimated Europe’s population throughout most of the 1300s. It's caused by a bacteria named Yersinia pestis and was spread by fleas. The bacteria - though lethal to humans - doesn't affect fleas. The fleas latched onto rats, which spread on merchant ships from Asia to Europe. 

This gnarly plague, accompanied by oozing/bleeding sores and high fevers, is believed to have killed upwards of 200 million people in the 14th century in Asia, Europe, and Africa. It's estimated between 30 and 60 percent of Europe's total population was wiped out. Forms of the bubonic plague were a reoccurring threat for the next 100 or so years, sometimes reappearing and claiming even more lives.


The 'Swine Flu' Epidemic Was A New And Deadly Type Of Influenza

Death count: 203,000 

The Swine Flu pandemic lasting from 2009 to 2010 is believed to have killed up to 203,000 people worldwide.

This virus strain posed a huge problem because it was comprised of unique influenza virus genes that were never previously identified in animals or humans. The closest related genes were that of the North American swine H1N1 virus and the Eurasian swine H1N1 virus. However, it was quickly discovered through investigations of initial human cases that most people were not being exposed to pigs. This fact made it shockingly clear that the new virus was only affecting humans.

The 2009 H1N1 outbreak is considered one of the worst modern pandemics, as it illustrated how deathly vulnerable we still are to influenza strains.


The Spanish Flu Took Out Between 20 and 40 Million People

Death count: 20 million to 40 million

The Spanish Flu infected one third of the world’s entire population and began in 1918. Some estimate this disease killed between 20 and 40 million people worldwide in just two years, and more than 500 million were affected by it. It was later identified as a strain of H1N1 - a particularly brutal strain of the flu. Most believe the disease began in Kansas and was spread by American troops. 

Though it was one of the most ruthless pandemics in history and took communities out in waves, most of its actual destruction was censored during wartime. Spain's newspapers were the only to cover the pandemic because it was a neutral country during WWI. That is how this particular strain of H1N1 came to be known as the Spanish Flu. 


Smallpox Can Be Traced Back to Egypt And Killed Large Numbers Of Native North Americans

Death count: 300 million

Smallpox is a highly contagious disease caused by variola virus. It was first introduced to the Americas in the 15th century. It was brought there by European settlers and led to the deaths of millions of people native to the United States and Central America. Smallpox epidemics are believed to have claimed a huge number of lives within the Aztec and Incan civilizations, the Middle Ages, and also within the Roman Empire.

The origin of smallpox is associated with Egypt and India, and the earliest evidence came from the mummy of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses V. He died in 1157 BCE and his remains show signs of pockmarks. Though researchers have been able to trace this, they're still unsure how exactly smallpox came to be, and how it started spreading so fast. 


The Plague Of Justinian Is One Of The First Pandemics Recorded

Death count: 100 million

The Plague of Justinian is considered one of the first ever pandemics historically recorded. This plague infected the Byzantine Empire in about 541 CE and is believed to have killed around 100 million people around the world. At its peak, it may have even killed 5,000 people per day.

While it is unclear which particular virus or disease caused this pandemic, it is clear the pandemic was a major factor in European history - as it stunned and prevented the Byzantine Empire from spreading over into Italy. It lasted for 225 years before disappearing completely. Many suspect the disease originated from China or India, and was spread through sea trading routes. 


Malaria Infects 500 Million People Each Year

Death count: 300-600 million people

Malaria, which is caused by a parasite found in mosquitos, infects as many as 500 million people each year. It is one of the most steadily destructive pandemics, especially because it is resistant to drugs. It's spread most commonly through mosquitoes, and is known to most impact third world countries.

Malaria has infected many different species dating back to about 300,000 years ago. The first documented descriptions matching that of malaria date back to around 2700 BCE, though scientists did not actually know what it was or how it was spread until the late 1800s. It is attributed to the death of Genghis Khan and believed to be the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire.


The Great White Plague Was A Tuberculosis Outbreak

Death count: At least 1.5 million

Tuberculosis was the culprit of the Great White Plague that began in Europe in the 1600s. This disease ravaged Europe for 200 years, and caused over 30 percent of all European deaths in the 1800s. It was spread through the air - making it especially scary and dangerous - and killed about 1.5 million people at its height. 

In the 1900s, it was estimated that 10 percent of all deaths in the United States were contributed to tuberculosis. The Mycobacterium Tuberculosis has been documented as a bacteria existing as far back as Egyptian mummies. In the early 20th century, the waves of tuberculosis gave way to sanatoriums and public hospitals. The disease steadily declined after a vaccine was created in 1921.


The Antonine Plague Took The Lives of Roman Emperors

Death count: 5 million

The Antonine Plague, also known as the Plague of Galen, devastated the Roman Empire from 165 to 180 CE It is suggested that the outbreak may have been that of measles or smallpox. Whatever it was, it was possibly brought back to Rome by troops returning from war.

At the height of its destruction, the Antonine Plague was killing around a quarter of everyone infected. Overall, it took the lives of as many as five million people - including a few Roman emperors and members of their extended families. Researchers are still unsure what exactly caused the epidemic. They estimate while the number of people who died was not as large as other epidemics, the political, military, and economic impacts were huge. 


The Third Pandemic Lasted About 100 Years

Death count: 12 million

The Third Plague Pandemic was an outbreak of the bubonic plague that originated in China. This outbreak lasted from 1855 to 1959 - that’s nearly 100 years!

This pandemic eventually spread to several continents, and ultimately killed as many as 12 million people in China and India alone. In 1898, Paul-Louis Simond made the discovery that the brown rat and the rat flea were the responsible hosts of the disease, which helped curb the disease. It was the first time scientists conclusively determined what caused the plague and a vaccine was created in response.

A few isolated cases of the disease were found in the United States in 1995, though the disease is now considered inactive.



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Fri, 24 Feb 2017 05:59:34 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/insane-epidemics-that-threatened-humanity/amber-fua
<![CDATA[Eye-Opening Details About What Giving Birth Was Like For Royal Mothers]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/weird-royal-birth-rituals-throughout-history/jen-jeffers

Since the beginning of civilization, the royal world has always been special, elevated above the mediocrity of regular life and filled with the pleasures and privilege of divine power and influence. And even though the practical function of the monarchy has become mostly symbolic, the public fascination with its office certainly has not. So when Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, recently gave birth to the newest members of the English monarchy, public curiosity about her experience was boundless. But alas, the details were not so thrilling, as she and William apparently greeted their precious new bundle much like any average citizen - in the privacy of a clean and well-lit room with just a few medical attendants nearby.

And so it seems the royal rituals for labor today are a far cry from the darkened, smoky bedrooms of the past, when the birth of a monarch was steeped in endless tradition, superstition, and more than a little fear. The age-old practice of bringing life into the world has always varied widely between cultures, but when it came to the secrets of the royal bedchamber, there were none quite as strange and disturbing as those created for new mothers.


Eye-Opening Details About What Giving Birth Was Like For Royal Mothers,

The Royal Mother Couldn't Attend Her Own Child's Christening

After a queen's procession, lying-in, and birthing process, she was expected to hide out for a bit longer until it was seemly to reintroduce her to society. While the baby was celebrated and instantly received by the public with a christening, the mother herself was not allowed to attend. Given the "uncleanliness" of her condition, she was required to remain in her bedchamber for another six weeks until she could be "churched," which meant she could be blessed and purified by a priest before returning to her royal duties. This "cleansing" was necessary after such a messy process.


Unsanitary Conditions Led To Deadly Infections

Back in the Middle Ages, the notion of cleanliness was far from well-developed. Even the most opulent queen often gave birth in relatively unsanitary conditions, creating a serious health risk to both mother and child. A sickness known as puerperal fever - a septic infection of the reproductive organs - was common and always resulted in death of the mother and sometimes the child. In the 1600s, Jane Seymour died from this illness, leaving Henry VIII a widower. Of course, he quickly rectified that situation.

To prevent such sickness, herbal remedies were created, most notably a drink called "caudle," a fortifying combination of egg, cream, porridge, and alcohol, used to keep up a mother's strength during the birth. And the alcohol didn't hurt when it came to the pain, either. 


A Formal Ceremony Led The Expectant Royal Through The Crowd

The discovery of a queen's pregnancy was always reason for excitement, anticipation, and curiosity - but it also called for a level of caution. In the 1500s, royal babies in British society were always preceded by a ceremony where a Mass would initiate a royal procession to the birthing venue. When the queen entered her final weeks of pregnancy, she would be paraded through public view and into the place where she would rest until the much-anticipated arrival of her baby. The procession was formal and well-attended, marking the official start to a royal birth. With the "cloth of estate" behind her, she would acknowledge her public and take a bit of wine before entering the darkened chamber to meet her fate.


Royal Women Began To Drug Themselves With Everything From Chloroform To Cocaine

Royal women were used to a certain standard of living, and the pain of childbirth was not a welcome change from their usual comforts. Throughout history, giving birth was always assumed to be a terribly painful process and one that could not be avoided, but not all queens accepted this fate.

Born in the early 1800s, Queen Victoria (who gave birth to nine children) began a campaign to make pain relief for royal mothers available and acceptable. For the birth of her eighth son, Prince Leopold, she found a doctor who would use chloroform to give her a reprieve from the mind-blowing pain. "'Oh, that blessed chloroform,' she wrote afterwards, 'soothing and delightful beyond measure.'" 

But asking for pain relief from childbirth was no simple task, as it sometimes flew in the face of the moral belief that women deserved the pain of childbirth - it was simply their lot in life. But after the protestations of Queen Victoria, the outlook began to change and royal women began politely requesting the Anaesthesia de la Reine during labor - otherwise known as ether.

This shift in thinking not only relieved many a royal, but it also opened the floodgates of medical approaches. Doctors began offering expecting mothers all sorts of things - nitrous oxide, quinine, opium, and even cocaine. By the end of the century, royal and noble women were seen as being too delicate to bear the pain of labor without a little "mommy's helper" from the medical world. Royal women now had the option of delivering a monarch in a drug-induced stupor. For those who wanted an even more extreme release, doctor's began to offer a drug cocktail called "twilight sleep" that would sedate the mother to the point where she remembered nothing. For some, the narcotic also brought on hallucinations, requiring doctors to blindfold or even restrain the expecting mother.


They Wore A Special Girdle Blessed By God

Because the pain of childbirth was so greatly feared among royal women, a special girdle was created to offer them extra support. This elegant garment, often hemmed in silver thread, was created with the purpose of helping a queen alleviate the pain of childbirth and could even be imbued with God's blessing.

Sometimes known as a "holy girdle" or "Virgin's Girdle," the article of clothing was worn during the lying-in period and sometimes contained bits of jasper around the band to promote a healthy baby. This special piece for royal fashion dates back to the early 16th century and has been mentioned in various historical texts. When Henry III's pregnant queen Eleanor was about to have her fourth child, she wore such a girdle as a way to ensure her son Edmund would be born successfully. In a 1365 fresco by Da Milano called The Birth of The Virgin, a new mother is shown being attended by her ladies who are washing her new baby while \the special girdle is handed to a woman for cleaning. 


The Queen's Chambers Were Made To Feel Like A Return To The Womb

About a month before the queen was due to give birth, she withdrew from life at court and was moved to a special chamber where she would remain until her big day. 

Taking to one's bed before giving birth was not a particularly pleasant experience for a royal mother. Despite the luxury of her apartments, the rules for her "lying-in" strictly dictated all windows were to be shut and covered with tapestries, allowing almost no fresh air to enter the room. Light was also considered dangerous, as it might hurt the eyes of the queen. The bedchamber would be hung all about with calming tapestries depicting serene religious scenes and landscapes - all images intended to ease the mother rather than upset her, and to protect the unborn child. It was believed wall hangings showing people or animals could trigger strange visions in the mother-to-be and possibly lead to a deformities in the child.

The idea was to re-create the safety, darkness, and peace of the womb itself, so the queen could birth a monarch in ideal comfort. Regardless of the season, a roaring fire would be lit, and the room would be attended by women who spoke only in a whisper. Fresh rushes and herbs would cover the floor and be replaced daily to keep the room smelling clean. If the queen became overwhelmed by the smoke and darkness, some candles might be lit around her stately bed to give her a bit of light. 

Because the room itself symbolized a womb, barriers that kept it closed were often undone, especially if labor proved difficult. Cupboards would be opened, hairpins removed, knots untied - anything to invite the flow of energy outward. Women would often chant around the queen, calming her with their voices and prayers to St. Margaret, who was supposedly issued spat from the mouth of a dragon.


Midwives Had To Swear Not To Steal The Afterbirth For Witchcraft

Of course, these days many doctors who deliver babies are men. But long ago? No way. Until the middle of the 17th century, royal births were considered a women-only situation overseen by nurses, midwives, ladies-in-waiting, and any other woman of court who could assist in some way. These women who helped the queen during her hours of need were known as "God's siblings" and were the protectors and handlers of anything related to the royal birth. Men were absolutely not allowed.

Because there were no heart monitors or medical equipment to evaluate the mother's progress, expertise was based solely on the experience of women who had given birth before. Doctors were rarely called in unless the situation became dire, as midwives did all the heavy lifting. As birthing experts, they had to be both knowledgeable and of good character - a woman who could be trusted with the life of the future monarch. When attending a royal mother, the midwife was required to take an oath not to keep anything from the birth itself, such as the placenta or the umbilical cord, both of which could be used in witchcraft. 

This matriarchal dominance continued until Prince Albert insisted on attending the labor of his wife, Queen Victoria, in the mid-19th century. She was grateful for the family support and wrote, "There could be no kinder, wiser, nor more judicious nurse." By this time, male doctors were allowed into the royal birthing room with strict instructions to only touch their patients and not look at them. 


Rituals Performed During Pregnancy Could Determine Whether A Baby Was Born Male Or Female

Medieval beliefs regarding the female reproductive system were nothing short of - well, medieval. Many people, especially men, believed a woman's genitalia were actually male organs turned inside out. The uterus and ovaries (the cognates of the penis and testicles) were inverted in women in order to have children but they were, essentially, still male organs. This belief allowed men to regard women as subordinate because their organs were stunted somehow and not fully formed - they were an inferior version of their male counterpart. 

Not surprisingly, the beliefs around what created a baby in the first place were shaky. They did not understand that male sperm was what dictated the sex of a child and always placed the blame for an unwanted female heir on the mother. Pre-modern thinkers also believed the gender of an unborn child could be influenced by certain foods or medicinal potions. Experts on the subject of royal bedchambers (yes, they are a thing) describe the process of "lying-in" for royal mothers as a way to ensure a male heir. According to these beliefs, the sex of a baby was not determined until the very moment of birth, so it was always possible to influence the divine decision during pregnancy.


As Many As 200 People Watched The Queen Give Birth

The birth of a royal was not just any old day - it was a political event that could have deep implications for an entire nation. It was an event that could signal the future success or failure of a monarchy, so people were pretty concerned with its outcome. As a result, it was not regarded as a private affair, but rather as a moment of significant public concern. Would it be a boy? A future king? As a future ruler, the child belonged more to the people than to the queen herself. And so she gave birth in front of many spectators, all of whom watched the process carefully to confirm the sex and health of the baby and avoid any foul play.

When Marie Antoinette of France gave birth in 1778, there were 200 people in her bedchamber to witness the event. In fact, the exact moment of a royal birth was so important, the obstetrician would yell out "The Queen is going to give birth!" - at which point hundreds of courtesans would pour into the darkened room. The rush of people was so extreme, the king had ordered the enormous tapestries around her bed be secured with cords so they wouldn't accidentally be pulled down by the frenzied crowd. The scene was so overpowering, it is said Marie Antoinette fainted from the heat while onlookers scrambled up on furniture to get a better look at the birth of a monarch.


It Was Believed That Painful Childbirth Was Punishment For Original Sin

Although giving birth today is seen as a celebratory time of family bliss, this was not always the case. Throughout history, the pain of childbirth was seen as necessary because the Bible stated God told woman, "In pain you will give birth to children." In devout Catholic and Christians settings, the suffering of labor and delivery were seen as an innate part of a woman's experience. The agony she would suffer was closely associated with the fall of Eve in the Garden of Eden and symbolized the magnitude of her original sin. This was the primary reason painkillers were often frowned upon, even for royals. 

As a result, queens often clutched holy relics and amulets during labor, even tucking little prayer rolls into the folds of their nightclothes. The church approved of such practices because they asked for God's protection and would likely help a mother find success during her darkest hours. 



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Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:10:48 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/weird-royal-birth-rituals-throughout-history/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[The 14 Bloodiest Battles Ever Fought On American Soil]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/most-bloody-battles-fought-on-american-soil/aaron-edwards

Today, it's easy to think of America as a power that fights everywhere in the world, but never at home. However, wars have been fought inside the borders of the United States, and the bloodiest battles on American soil have left an indelible mark on its development. Some of the most important battles in American history were fought in the United States. The American battles with the highest body counts weren't in exotic locales during WWI or WWII, but rather in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia during the Civil War. The pictures from those Civil War battlefields are chilling.   

The worst battles fought in America far eclipse the loss of life suffered by American soldiers abroad. The Battle of Gettysburg, for instance, stands as the most bloody in US history. Over 50,000 people were killed over three days and the conflict became a deciding engagement in the war. Those deaths helped forge the future of the nation, but that doesn't make them any less tragic.   


The 14 Bloodiest Battles Ever Fought On American Soil,

Battle of Chancellorsville

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Seven Days
Place: Spotsylvania, Virginia
Number of Combatants: 154,734
Number Killed: 3,418
Number of Wounded: 18,905
Number of Missing/Captured: 8,441

This was a showdown between General Hooker of the North and General Lee of the South. After a risky flanking maneuver, Stonewall Jackson caused major damage to Hooker’s lines and ultimately drove them to retreat. 


Battle of Chickamauga

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: 12 Days 
Place: Catoosa County and Walker County, Georgia 
Number of Combatants: 125,000 
Number Killed: 3,969
Number of Wounded: 24,430
Number of Missing/Captured: 6,225

The Battle of Chickamauga was one of the biggest Union defeats of the war. What started as a Union offensive left a gap in their lines, and the Confederates threw everything they had at them. The repeated assaults were costly for both sides, but they ultimately caused the Northern troops to withdraw. 


Battle of Fredericksburg

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: One Day
Place: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Number of Combatants: 172,504
Number of Casualties: 17,929
Number of Wounded: Unknown
Number of Missing/Captured: Unknown

The largest battle of the Civil War, both Confederate and Union soldiers fought in the streets of Fredericksberg, making it the Civil War’s first example of urban combat. The Union attacked an entrenched Confederate position, but Confederate forces led by Stonewall Jackson held firm with the help of artillery fire.


Battle of Gettysburg

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Three Days 
Place: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 
Number of Combatants: 165,620 
Number of Casualties: 51,112
Number of Wounded: 33,264 
Number of Missing/Captured: 10,790 

The full might of the Confederate and Union forces clashed at Gettysburg, each determined to break the spirits of the other. The heavy casualties came from the Confederates repeatedly charging Union lines only to be repulsed by their entrenched positions. 


Battle of Shiloh

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Two Days
Place: Hardin County, Tennessee
Number of Combatants: 110,053
Number Killed: 3,482
Number of Wounded: 16,420
Number of Missing/Captured: 3,844

After a withdraw, Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston launched a surprise attack on encamped Union troops. Initially very effective, the Union soldiers held and Johnston was killed. After a series of attacks and counter attacks, the Confederates suffered so many casualties that they had to retreat.  


Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: 13 Days 
Place: Spotsylvania Country, Virginia
Number of Casualties: 30,000 
Number Killed: Unknown
Number of Wounded: Unknown
Number of Missing/Captured: Unknown

The second battle in the Overland Campaign, Union General Ulysses S. Grant tried to prevent a division of the Confederate army from linking up with another division. After days of fighting and probing their defenses, Grant gathered 20,000 men to attack.

When the Confederate general thought Grant was withdrawing, he put his artillery away. When Grant’s men charged, it turned into a 22-hour melee that ended with the deaths of 17,000 men.


Battle of the Wilderness

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Three Days 
Place: Spotsylvania and Orange Counties, Virginia 
Number of Combatants: 169,920
Number of Casualties: 29,800
Number of Wounded: Unknown
Number of Missing/Captured: Unknown

Several armies clashed in the dense woods of Spotsylvania, leading to a horrifyingly intimate meatgrinder. After three days with no ground gained and on the brink of exhaustion, the Union army retreated. 


Seven Days Battles

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Seven Days 
Place: Hanover County and Henrico County, Virginia 
Number of Combatants: 196,100 
Number Killed: 5,228
Number of Wounded: 23,824
Number of Missing/Captured: 7,007

Originally an offensive by the Union, the Confederates drove them back over the course of six battles lasting seven days. Most of the casualties were on the Confederate side, as they took heavy losses from artillery.


The Battle of Antietam

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Three Days 
Place: Washington County, Maryland
Number of Combatants: 131,000 
Number Killed: 3,654
Number of Wounded: 17,292
Number of Missing/Captured: 1,771

When the Union army (under Joseph Hooker) attacked the forces of Robert E. Lee, it started one of the bloodiest assaults of the war. Hooker failed to break the Confederate lines held by Stonewall Jackson. The battle was ultimately a draw, but the Confederates suffered so many casualties it encouraged Lincoln to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation. 


Second Battle Of Bull Run, 1862

Conflict: American Civil War 
Duration: Three Days
Place: Prince William County, Virginia
Number of Combatants: 125,000
Number Killed: 3,021
Number of Wounded: 15,263
Number of Missing/Captured: At least 3,893

Determined to destroy the Union Army led by General John Pope, Robert E. Lee attacked him in a pincer maneuver before Pope could meet reinforcements. While Pope managed to catch Stonewall with his reinforcements, Lee outflanked Pope. After a violent struggle, Pope retreated and Lee invaded the North. 



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Wed, 23 Nov 2016 06:06:02 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/most-bloody-battles-fought-on-american-soil/aaron-edwards
<![CDATA[10 Strange Facts About What Sex Was Like in Revolutionary America]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-in-revolutionary-war-era-united-states/aaron-edwards

America is frequently characterized as a land founded by uptight Puritans, people who viewed sex as a sin to be avoided at all costs. But early American sex definitely existed - after all, settlers had to populate their new home somehow.

Sex during the Colonial period was somewhat restricted, but this time wasn't without its passion. Sure, sex toys weren't widely available, but premarital sex was known to happen. Of course, if you were caught engaging in the act, you were expected to do the right thing and marry your partner.

The Founding Fathers themselves were some of the most notable proponents of sex during the Revolutionary War. Ben Franklin was known for his sexual appetites, and even gave romantic advice to his fellow men. As for Thomas Jefferson, his questionable sex habits led to plenty of gossip.

The times may have changed, but sex remains an eternally fascinating subject. And if you lived in Revolutionary America, sex was as much an escape as it was a marital duty. 


10 Strange Facts About What Sex Was Like in Revolutionary America,

Benjamin Franklin Gave Sex Advice

Benjamin Franklin was known for his suave demeanor - in fact, it's partly why he was selected to win France's support during the Revolutionary War. But he also used that charm to bed women, and was very open about sex.

One of Franklin's letters outlines advice on finding a mistress. His biggest piece of advice is to always go for older women. According to Franklin, their age and wisdom makes them discreet partners, and their faded looks makes them especially grateful for the attention. Plus, while "The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts [continue] to the last as plump as ever."


Dirty Jokes And Songs Were Popular

Just because Colonial Americans had strict morals didn't mean they didn't joke about sex. Even John Adams wrote down dirty quips he overheard. One told of a man whose friends tricked him into thinking he had contracted "the clap" from a prostitute. "He went to the Dr. and was salivated for the Clap. Then they sent him before justice Phillips, then before justice Tyler, in short they played upon him till they provoked him so that he swore, he would beat the Brains out of the first man that came into his shop."

Another recounted the story of a man who "was a better Prophet than Elijah for he stretched himself on her but once to bring her to Life whereas Elijah did 3 times. He breathed into her the Breath of Life."


There Were Homosexual Relationships

Given the low ratio of women to men in the Colonies, it's no surprise that many men spent years single. Some, however, didn't seem to mind the lack of romantic companionship from women. According to historians, there were not only homosexual relationships in Revolutionary America, but many of them have been documented through correspondence. Sexual relationships between men were forbidden, but records strongly suggest that same-sex partners existed all the same.


Prostitution Didn’t Really Exist Outside Of Cities

You might picture the cities of the past teeming with prostitutes, but that wasn't the case in Colonial America. Widespread religious beliefs discouraged sex work, and the demographics of the population simply didn’t support large-scale prostitution. Even if the size of the population was right (it wasn’t), there would have to be more women than men (there weren’t).

Prostitution still existed, but it wasn't centralized or well documented in the countryside. There were, however, more prostitutes in major settlements such as New York and Philadelphia.


Philadelphia Had Its Own Red Light District

Philadelphia was one of the largest cities in America, and a big population meant more opportunity for unsavory situations. The most infamous of the rough neighborhoods in the city was "Hell Town," which was rife with poverty, crime, and prostitution. Benjamin Franklin himself was rumored to fraternize with a few women of the night from this area.


There Were No Sex Shops

Sex toys are likely as old as, well, sex. But there’s no record of sex toys from America’s Colonial era. Given the fact that many Colonists were Puritans, it makes sense. That doesn't mean people weren't using them, just that they weren't talked about.


Commonlaw Marriage Was A Way To Have Sex

In Colonial America, sex was supposed to be reserved for married couples. Luckily, it was easy to get married - all you needed to do was clasp hands and declare that you were husband and wife. This quick and easy method was called "commonlaw marriage" or "handfasting," and it was brought to the New World by English settlers.

Not all of these marriages lasted. Since there weren't legal documents to certify the union and witnesses weren't required, it was all too easy for a "spouse" to split after the marriage had been consummated.


People Began Marrying For Love

Arranged marriages were common in early America. During the 18th century, however, love became a more important consideration for unions. Marriages used to be arranged to consolidate family power, but parents' influence over the children declined around the time of the Revolutionary War. Apparently, rebellion was in the air.


Thomas Jefferson Had Children With One Of His Slaves

Thomas Jefferson was celebrated for his liberal ideals, but he kept many slaves throughout his life. One, Sally Hemings, was referred to as his "concubine" in 19th century documents, though scholars question if the relationship was consensual.

Jefferson probably fathered Hemings's six children, which caused scandalous rumors during his presidency. His family maintained that the children, who were light-skinned and looked like Jefferson, were actually fathered by his nephews. After many recent DNA tests, it was determined that it was far more likely that Jefferson himself was the father of Hemings's children.


Sometimes Dating Involved Being Stuffed Into A Burlap Sack

Premarital sex was frowned upon in Colonial America, but that didn't keep it from happening. So, the practice of "bundling" was created to allow betrothed couples to stay at the girl's house under parental supervision. One of the young lovers would be sewn into a sack with their head poking out, to prevent any body parts from touching. There were variations on this tradition, too. The unmarried couple might be permitted to share a bed to keep warm, as long as a board separated them. They might simply be watched closely by parents, too.

These methods weren't always successful. In the mid- to late-1700s, an estimated one in three brides was pregnant when she said "I do."



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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 09:25:01 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/sex-in-revolutionary-war-era-united-states/aaron-edwards
<![CDATA[The Tragic Life Of Dolley Madison, A Badass First Lady]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-first-lady-dolley-madison/stephanroget

The First Lady is an important title in American politics. But while everyone has an opinion on what makes a "good" first lady, few citizens could tell you where the image of the ideal presidential spouse comes from. The credit for setting the standards of First Ladyship belongs to Dolley Madison, a lesser-known but undeniably badass First Lady who left her mark on United States history.

Dolley Madison was the wife of President James Madison. Born in 1768, she was witness to many integral moments in the establishment of the United States, and she had a direct hand in more than a few of them. There are countless facts about Dolley Madison that prove she was an elegant and admirable First Lady. But history, sadly, didn’t grant her a happy ending. The tragic story of Dolley Madison is one worth repeating, and one that all Americans should know.


The Tragic Life Of Dolley Madison, A Badass First Lady,

She Supported The Lewis And Clark Expedition

A few years before she became the First Lady, Dolley Madison had a hand in the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition. Although she couldn't trek across the country herself, she organized a group of D.C. women who gathered supplies and solicited donations for the explorers. With the support of Dolley Madison, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were able to chart the western half of the country.


She Decorated The White House And Threw Epic Parties

Dolley Madison had a taste for fashion, and she brought that stylish sensibility to her new home when her husband was elected in 1809. The White House was just becoming a symbol of the American government, and Dolley played a large role in designing its layout and decorating its interiors.

The First Lady made the most of her elegant environs by hosting fantastic parties, which sometimes included hundreds of guests. She gave the first Inaugural Ball as well. Dolley was a gracious host who was known for keeping ahead of the latest trends - she even gave guests their very first taste of a new delicacy known as "ice cream."


She Made Powerful Friends

Dolley Madison was respected by almost everyone she interacted with. She was well-known for her intelligence in an age when the wit of women was rarely appreciated, and even great thinkers like Thomas Jefferson admired her. She was also known for cultivating friendships with powerful women, like future First Lady Louisa Adams.

One of the greatest honors bestowed upon the "Lady Presidentess" was by Samuel Morse, who chose her to be the first civilian to transmit a message from his new invention, the telegraph.


She Had A Whirlwind Courtship With The Older James Madison

Shortly after the heartbreaking loss of her husband and child, Dolley became reacquainted with James Madison through his friend Aaron Burr. The two began a whirlwind romance that became the talk of town. The affair had a tinge of scandal to it - Dolley was a new widow, and Madison was 17 years older than her.

The couple met in May of 1794, and were engaged in August that same year. Dolley was asked to give up her Quaker faith as a condition of the marriage, since Madison did not practice the religion himself.


She Became The First "First Lady"

James Madison was elected the fourth President of the United States in 1809. Dolley Madison became the third First Lady - Thomas Jefferson's wife had died before he took office. In many ways, however, Dolley was the first "First Lady," as she set the standard that future presidential partners would be judged by.

She shared her opinion on matters of state, publicly supported her husband, and made the most of her social standing. Dolley even began the trend of First Ladies doubling as fashion icons. She was an extremely popular figure; her nicknames included "Lady Presidentess" and "Queen Dolley."


She Witnessed The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was an exciting and important event in early American history. Leaders like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton met to brainstorm ideas on the creation of a new country, all under the watchful eye of George Washington.

Dolley Payne was in Philadelphia while the Convention met. She even caught a glimpse of one particular delegate who would become important in her life: James Madison.


She Lost Her First Husband And Child To Yellow Fever

Dolley's peaceful life in Philadelphia was not to last. She settled down with her husband John Todd, and they soon had two children. But in 1793, yellow fever hit the city. The entire family got sick, and Dolley’s husband and second child perished. Both she and first born son, Payne, fell ill as well, but were able to recover.

Dolley was a widow and single mother at the age of 25.


Her Family Struggled Financially

Dolley Payne was born into a life of luxury on a North Carolina plantation, but circumstances grew more difficult due to a tough choice made by her idealist father. A Quaker, he was strongly against slavery, but was a slave owner himself. Tired of his hypocrisy, Mr. Payne freed his slaves, sold his plantation, and moved the family to Philadelphia, where he attempted to set up a business. After some initial success, times got tough for the Paynes. Dolley's father eventually declared bankruptcy.


She Was Considered The Greatest Beauty Of Her Era

Even without a family fortune, the young Dolley Payne attracted her fair share of suitors. She was considered to be the greatest beauty of her era. Miss Payne essentially had her pick of the men in town, and she chose to marry the Quaker lawyer John Todd.


Her Actual Name Is Unknown

No one is quite sure if Dolley Madison's name was really Dolley. Although that's the name on her birth certificate, the spelling varies from source to source. Her will is signed "Dolly," and plenty of documents refer to her as "Dollie." Some historians even claim that her real name was Dorothea.



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Mon, 13 Mar 2017 07:10:12 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-first-lady-dolley-madison/stephanroget
<![CDATA[6 Royals Who Suffered From Hereditary Mutations And Defects Caused By Inbreeding]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/mutations-and-birth-defects-caused-by-royal-inbreeding/peterdugre

Long before the concept of "designer babies" created in a lab became the stuff of science fiction, inbreeding in royal families was viewed as a way to ensure genetic purity. Intermarriage ensured that no "common" blood sullied pure, aristocratic blood lines. What could go wrong?

A lot, actually. Birth defects caused by inbreeding were rampant in royal families from Russia to Portugal and even in ancient Egypt, where the practice of sibling marriage was considered godly behavior. Hereditary diseases caused by inbreeding get handed down through thin gene pools, particularly in the many cases where intentional close marriage is used to ensured that royal blood (and its recurrent flaws) are kept in the family. For example, Queen Victoria, a major proponent of pure blood lines, married her cousin Albert, and the two had nine children who then passed hemophilia to royal families throughout Europe. Both King Tut and Charles II of Spain were so deformed by inbreeding that they were unable to walk unaided. Meanwhile, mental illnesses ran rampant throughout many royal families, leading to some very odd royal behavior.

While all these families hoped close intermarriage would keep their royal families stronger, in many cases, illness, madness, and infertility caused by inbreeding wound up tearing them apart.


6 Royals Who Suffered From Hereditary Mutations And Defects Caused By Inbreeding,

Empress Elisabeth of Austria

Nicknamed "Sisi," the beautiful but troubled Empress Elisabeth I came from a long line of royals known for their strange behavior, including the notoriously eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria. At age 16, she married her cousin Franz Joseph and became empress. This cousin was obsessed with Sisi, but she did not love him back and she hated his mother (her aunt), the strict and overbearing Archduchess Sophie, who installed one of her friends as lady-in-waiting to spy on Sisi.

Sisi was known for being extremely beautiful, but as she grew older and more anxious and depressed, she became anorexic and developed an elaborate, obsessive beauty regimen intended to keep her looking young and thin. She starved herself, exercised excessively, and forbade anyone to paint her portrait once she was no longer young. She traveled extensively (largely to avoid her husband), wrote tons of moody poetry, and talked of suicide, before she was murdered by an anarchist in 1898.

Sisi was from the royal and highly inbred House of Wittelsbach, known for its aunt-nephew and uncle-niece marriages and also for its many disturbed members.


Maria II of Portugal

The mentally unstable Queen Maria I was married to her uncle, who had his own share of mental issues. Over the course of her rule from 1777 to 1816, she watched two of her children die of smallpox, as well as her son-in-law and grandson, all of which is partially blamed for her decline into insanity. Known as the Mad Queen, she was given to delusional fits and religious obsessions, and often dressed as a little girl. Maria spent much time in seclusion, but her howling could be heard throughout the royal estate. Her grip on sanity was so feeble that by 1799 her son John was the unofficial ruler while she remained queen in title only. Eventually the family fled to Brazil during the Napoleonic Wars, and Maria I died in a convent.

Mental illness ran through Maria I's family, afflicting both her grandfathers. The family was also extremely inbred: not only was Maria I married to her uncle, but Maria's eldest son Joseph married his aunt.


Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia

Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich's hemophilia contributed to the fall of the Russia imperial dynasty in 1917. While no one in the ruling Russian House of Romanov was known to carry hemophilia (a potentially fatal genetic disease where blood does not clot normally), lexei's father Tsar Nicholas had married into the family of Queen Victoria of England, who was part of clan of passionate inbreeds. Tsarist Alexandra was Victoria's granddaughter. 

Desperate to save her son's life, Alexandra sought mystical intervention in the form of Rasputin, the "Mad Monk.” Inviting a lascivious man like Rasputin, known for his tastes for alcohol and lovers of both sexes, didn’t go over well with the aristocracy. The Russian rulers, however, were convinced that Rasputin’s treatments were effective in saving their son.

The mystic Rasputin gained greater influence at court, wielding increasing power over the lives of the royals and surreptitiously governing Russia. The disorder in the royal house and the questionable company the rulers kept helped spur the Russian Revolution of 1917, and as a result, the entire royal family was executed. 

Nor was Alexei the only relative of Queen Victoria's to be afflicted with hemophilia: 

"The 19th century British monarch's son Leopold, Duke of Albany, died from blood loss after he slipped and fell. Her grandson Friedrich bled out at age 2; her grandsons Leopold and Maurice, at ages 32 and 23, respectively."


Charles II The Bewitched Had A Massive, Drool-Secreting Tongue

Of all the inbred royals, Charles II of Spain won top prize for obviously being hindered by his hereditary traits. The product of a long line of Habsburg inbreeding (his father and mother were uncle and niece), Charles II (nicknamed The Bewitched) looked the part. He had what was called the Habsburg Jaw or Habsburg Lip, characterized by a huge tongue, an under-bite, a jutting lower jaw, and a thick lower lip. Technically, the deformity is known as mandibular prognathism. His tongue made it difficult to chew and caused excessive drooling.

The king was also severely developmentally delayed. He was breastfed until he was five, and never received any formal education. His speech was delayed until he was four, and he couldn’t walk until the age of eight. Even as an adult, his communication was muffled and hardly comprehensible. He was also impotent, so his inability to procreate ended the Habsburg’s hold on the Spanish crown when the king died at age 39 in 1700.

The Habsburg dynasty had been intermarrying for so long that one of Charles's ancestors, Joanna of Castille, appears in his family tree 14 different times. In fact, Charles I was more inbred than he would have been if his parents had been brother and sister.


An Hereditary Blue Urine Disease May Have Driven King George III Insane

King George III of England, whose reign was famously marked by losing the American Revolution, likely had a genetic disorder that affected his mind more noticeably than his body. He is a believed to have suffered from porphyria, a disease that makes a patient’s urine bluish purple and causes bouts of insanity (though arsenic poisoning and bipolar disorder have also been suggested as possible causes).

George III routinely checked out from his royal duties to escape to seclusion and private recovery at Kew Palace. He was prone to babbling delusions in his later life and subjected to extreme treatments including strait-jackets, leeching, and ice baths to calm him. Modern medical testing shows porphyria was common in the highly inbred House of Hanover, to which King George III belonged.

George III spent the final decade of his reign in hiding and eventually lost his vision and hearing.


King Tut Suffered A Deformed Skull Due To Sibling Marriage

Although his legacy is as the golden boy pharaoh of ancient Egypt, DNA tests of King Tut's mummified corpse show that this ruler of Egypt circa 1300 BC was actually a feeble-bodied genetic misfit, owing to the Egyptian royal tradition of brothers and sisters marrying one another. King Tutankhamun took the throne at age 10 and survived only until the age of 19. He likely had a cleft palate, a club foot, and scoliosis, as well as an elongated, deformed skull. He probably required a cane to walk and evidence suggests he suffered from malaria because of a weak immune system.

Egyptian pharaohs revered sibling marriage, influenced by the legend that the god Osiris married his sister, Isis, to maintain a pure bloodline. There were even instances of "double niece" marriages (defined as when a man marries a girl who was the offspring of his brother and sister).



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Tue, 15 Nov 2016 05:10:35 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/mutations-and-birth-defects-caused-by-royal-inbreeding/peterdugre
<![CDATA[13 Bizarre Things People Don't Know About Grover Cleveland]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-grover-cleveland/philgibbons

President Grover Cleveland was involved in some of the more colorful episodes of late 19th century American political history. Although today he is relatively obscure, facts about Grover Cleveland and his effect upon the history of the White House are still evident today.

Cleveland's completely unassuming personality and down-to-earth ways underline his legacy as one of the unlikeliest presidents in US history. A man who resisted pretense and intellectual pursuit of any kind, "Big Steve" loved hunting and fishing, beer drinking, and poker. At the time he was also the only Democrat elected to the White House in more than 50 years. But he wasn't without scandal: A White House wedding to a 21-year-old, a virtual admission of an illegitimate child, and a political past as a hangman would today seem incomprehensible.

There are plenty of interesting facts about Stephen Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, even if today he is relatively unknown. 


13 Bizarre Things People Don't Know About Grover Cleveland,

Cleveland Is Considered The Least Healthy President

Grover Cleveland was by all accounts a very unhealthy man. While he was not the most obese president, Cleveland, at his heaviest, weighed 280 pounds. His secret cancer operation on his jaw probably stemmed from his propensity to smoke cigars for most of his life. Cleveland also loved beer and once during a campaign had to renege on a mutual pledge with his opponent to restrict himself to four glasses a day. This he ultimately considered too restrictive. Heavy drinking as well as a large appetite for rich food probably contributed to Cleveland's gout, visible to the public as early as 1885. Cleveland ultimately died of a heart attack in 1908, aged 71. 


Cleveland Vetoed More Than 584 Bills

Between regular and pocket vetoes, Grover Cleveland rejected close to 600 congressional bills. The only other president who comes close to that is Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he took more than four terms to reach 635 vetoes. Cleveland felt that after he was elected with the image of an anti-corruption crusader, his continual vetoes of special interest legislation that benefited the rich of the gilded age would be politically astute.


Cleveland Was Elected President Despite A Major Sex Scandal

Political sex scandals are as American as apple pie, and Grover Cleveland contributed a whopper. In the heat of his 1884 campaign - one of the dirtiest in US history - allegations surfaced that in 1874, bachelor candidate Cleveland had previously impregnated a woman by the name of Maria Halpin. Further scandal developed when it seemed the woman was paid to give up her son, was briefly placed in an asylum, and the child was raised by an acquaintance of Cleveland. He never denied his involvement with Halpin but claimed the paternity was at issue, as she had been involved with many men. He said he merely stepped forward to help with the child's welfare. Halpin responded by claiming Cleveland forced himself upon her and that his paternity was undeniable. Republican supporters of Cleveland's opponent, James Blaine, began to incessantly chant "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?!" on the campaign trail. Luckily, Blaine, a former US senator and congressman was perceived as even more of a crook, having allegedly sold favors for cash. Cleveland supporters got the last laugh responding to the "Where's my pa?" taunt with "Gone to the White House, Ha-Ha-Ha!!"


A Candy Company Tried To Claim 'Baby Ruth' Was Named After Cleveland's Daughter

In the early '20s, the Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago introduced a popular candy bar called the "Baby Ruth." To the public it would seem obvious the company was attempting to cash in on the phenomenon of baseball's George Herman (Babe) Ruth, the Yankee slugger who became a household item. Baby Ruths were so popular that in 1926 Babe Ruth himself attempted to license his own candy bar, "Ruth's Home Run Candy." Curtiss immediately sued and prevailed, using the argument that their candy was named after Ruth, the daughter of Grover Cleveland.

"Baby" Ruth, born in 1891, was a subject of intense interest during Cleveland's second term when the Cleveland family refused all photo requests and the child's likeness remained a mystery to the American public. Ruth died in 1904 from diptheria. Curtiss won the case in 1931 and at the very least the real "Babe" was out of a ton of royalties.


Cleveland Was On The $1,000 Bill

While it doesn't exist today, the $1,000 bill used to be a real thing. Issued first during the Revolutionary War as a means to help finance it, the $1,000 bill was viable until 1969 when the government officially recalled all forms of the currency. 

But before that in 1918, the treasury began issuing $1,000 bills and was looking for a new face to adorn it. It selected Alexander Hamilton - but Hamilton was already on the $10 bill. People thought this was too confusing, and in 1928 and 1934, $1,000 bills were printed with Grover Cleveland on them.

Because of the size of the denominations, these notes were used by banks for large transactions and typically not by the general public. Thanks to improvements in wire transfer technology, all printing of large bill denominations over $100 ceased in 1945. In 1969, the Nixon administration ordered that these large bills also be taken out of public circulation to combat money laundering and organized crime. Technically, any of these and other large denomination bills that are turned into a bank will be returned to the US Treasury, although the Cleveland bill is worth far more to collectors than its $1,000 face value.


While President, Cleveland Had A Secret Operation To Treat His (Also Secret) Cancer

At the beginning of his second term, Grover Cleveland became afflicted with a cancerous tumor on his upper palate and jaw. In the late 19th century, even ordinary cancer victims were shunned and Cleveland figured the public would be horrified if his condition was revealed. Instead, on July 1, 1893, under the guise of a holiday fishing trip, Cleveland boarded a friend's yacht - the Oneida - headed out into Long Island Sound, and had doctors remove much of his upper jaw, including five teeth. The surgeons installed a rubber prosthetic to conceal the disfigurement, and gradually reconstructed the President's oral cavity. After Cleveland returned to Washington, he made public appearances but did not speak. It would be 24 years before the surgery was revealed to the public. Cleveland lived for another fifteen years, dying in 1908.


Cleveland Married A 21 Year Old - Who Was Also His Legal Ward - While In The White House

Grover Cleveland was the second unmarried man ever elected to the presidency. However, on June 2, 1886, he became the first and only sitting president to marry in the White House. His bride was a 21 year old named Francis Folsom, the youngest first lady in US history. Folsom was also Cleveland's legal ward, the president becoming her legal guardian when her father, a law partner in Cleveland's firm, died when she was 11. When Frances turned 21, Cleveland, aged 48, promptly married her.


Cleveland Won The Popular Vote Against Benjamin Harrison, But Lost The Electoral Vote

Although the US was enjoying prosperity and was not involved in any military conflict, Grover Cleveland was defeated for re-election in 1888. Cleveland achieved a narrow 90,000 popular vote victory, he lost critical states in the electoral college, including his home state of New York. The election was marked by blatant fraud, especially in Harrison's home state of Indiana, and lead to widespread national adoption of a secret ballot.

A candidate winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote has only happened four other times. First in 1824 when Andrew Jackson lost of John Quincy Adams; next in 1876 when Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes; in 2000 when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush; and in 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. 


Cleveland Is The Only President To Serve Non-Consecutive Terms

In 1884, Grover Cleveland was the first Democrat elected president since James Buchanan in 1856. He would run for re-election and lose a close election to Benjamin Harrison. After a four-year stint as a New York City attorney, Cleveland would run for the Presidency again in 1892, defeating Harrison and becoming the only US president to serve non-consecutive terms. Cleveland would also be the only Democrat to hold office until the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912.


Cleveland Personally Hanged Two Men As The Sheriff Of Erie County

A popular attorney in Buffalo, NY, in 1870, Grover Cleveland was drafted by the local Democratic party to run for Sheriff of Erie County. Elected to the office, Cleveland was confronted with the upcoming execution of Patrick Morrisey in September 1872. Normally, a particular deputy would handle the process but Cleveland felt that rather than delegating this unpleasant task to a subordinate, it was his ethical responsibility to carry out the hanging himself, despite his doubts about the barbarity of the sentence. On the day of the execution, Cleveland stood behind a screen and pulled a lever which dropped the unfortunate Morrisey to his fate. Cleveland would do the same thing again in February 1873.



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Mon, 13 Mar 2017 07:31:50 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-grover-cleveland/philgibbons
<![CDATA[Declassified CIA Maps Reveal Top Secret 20th Century Cartography]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/declassified-cia-maps/kellen-perry

To celebrate 75 years as an agency, the CIA released dozens of declassified maps in 2016 - just a sliver of "the largest collection of maps in the world," according to an agency statement. These declassified CIA maps from the agency's Cartography Center give ordinary citizens a rare glimpse into formerly top secret information regarding war efforts, international trade, territorial claims, and much more.

Many of these colorful and beautifully designed declassified government documents were drawn by hand - an impressive feat, considering their scope and importance. The later documents, designed with cutting edge cartography technology, are also quite impressive, and reveal geographical facts you might not be familiar with. The gallery below takes you through world events from roughly 1940-2013, as seen through the eyes of a major branch of U.S. intelligence.


Declassified CIA Maps Reveal Top Secret 20th Century Cartography,

Russian Front, 1942

Cuban Missiles, 1962

International Trade, 1950

Berlin, 1960s

Detachment C And The Indonesian Revolt, 1958

Middle East Oil, 1951

Berlin Zones, 1945

Antarctica Claims, 1956

Tribes Of Iran, 1945

German Concentration Camps, 1944


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Tue, 28 Feb 2017 02:48:13 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/declassified-cia-maps/kellen-perry
<![CDATA[Times the Economy Was on the Verge of Total Collapse]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/times-in-history-the-economy-almost-collapsed/justin-andress

In the coming months and years, the term “economic recession” may become all too applicable to Americans' daily lives. After a decidedly short respite from economic concerns, several experts are suggesting that the economic plan laid out by President Trump may send the American economy into a tailspin. Thanks to the intricacies of banking, a major economic downturn in America could herald a worldwide economic collapse.

Before you start stockpiling canned goods and liquidating your assets, you should know that the world has weathered serious economic issues before. From the beginning of human civilization all the way through to just a few years ago, there are countless examples of times the world economy almost collapsed. In fact, to look at the numbers, you might get the impression that the world as a whole is always inching toward or recuperating from complete financial ruin. 

The world we live in is so remarkably intertwined on a monetary level that it's essentially a house of cards just waiting to collapse the moment some greedy a-hole or careless moron takes their eye off the ball. 

You just have to know where to look.


Times the Economy Was on the Verge of Total Collapse,

The Spanish Royal Family Proved That Financial Management And Inbreeding Do Not Mix

Though the Spanish treasury was riding high around 1600, with an estimated $3 trillion in plundered goods, by 1627, the whole thing had come crashing down. While the incredible lack of branches in the Spanish royal family’s tree (it looks that way because brothers married sisters) didn’t directly contribute to their financial ruin, it certainly helped. 

What really did the job was the fact that Spain spent the late 1500s conquering a part of the planet that: a) didn’t want to be conquered, and b) outnumbered the Spanish soldiers by a lot. As a result of gaining their fortune through force, the Spanish government was forced to spend the money just as quickly to maintain control of their land. It didn’t work, and, as a result, Spain was forced to spend most of the 17th century groping in the dark and caring for mentally deficient monarchs.


The Mississippi Bubble Slowed Down Trade With The New World For Almost A Century

Along with another similarly timed “bubble” known as the South Sea Bubble, the Mississippi Bubble essentially crippled an entire nation’s economy. In 1720, an investor named John Law obtained the right to cultivate some of France’s land in the New World. Law proceeded to tout the incredible potential for wealth in the area, which caught the interest of investors. 

In spite of the fact that most of Law’s statements were utter bullsh*t, he had total government backing since no one could actually disprove any of his statements. As a result of the interest in his company, shares rose by something like 3600%. Then, like true geniuses, the French government started printing money so people could invest more capital in Law’s scheme. And everything went great until the extra paper money started triggering crazy inflation, and Law was forced to flee the country.


Though He Left Office With Record Approval, Reagan’s Early Years Were Tough On The Economy

From 1981 to 1982, the United States suffered through its worst economic depression since the big one of the 1930s. In spite of the country’s initial optimism that the new president, Ronald Reagan, would improve the economic situation, exactly the opposite proved to be true. Within 18 months of Reagan’s presidency, the country’s unemployment rate had risen to more than 10%.

In September of 1982, 54% of Americans said that Reagan’s economic policies had made their situation worse. Miraculously, though, the public’s opinion remained hopeful throughout the downturn and into the following years.


Donating Money To The American Revolution Threw France Into A Revolution Of Its Own

Properly begun in 1789, the French Revolution was a direct result of the economic collapse of the French Crown following the American Revolution. Thanks to the lavish spending of Louis XVI in support of the American army during the war (as well as on his own ridiculously opulent lifestyle), French citizens found themselves with little to no food or income and without support from the Crown itself. 

The inability of the King to support his people financially gave rise to the Jacobin movement, which ultimately brought down the French Crown and thrust the country into more than a decade of blood-laced anarchy.


The Oil Crisis Of 1973 Wrecked More Than Just A Trip To The Gas Pumps

In 1973, the United States decided to pitch in and help out Israel during a war they were fighting against... well, basically everyone else in the Middle East. When the Arabs on the other side of the Arab-Israeli War got wind of US interference, things got nasty. Most of those countries were part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or, as they’re known on the street, OPEC. 

In response to US aid, OPEC imposed an embargo on United States oil imports, which pretty much halted the US economy (and ruined the traffic flow around gas pumps nationwide). Without the United States pitching in and buying stuff, the rest of the world soon felt the ill effects of OPEC’s embargoes.


The Economic Crisis Of The 14th Century Was Caused By A Royal Thirst For War

From about 1300 until 1450, the Church suffered from a decline in power in Europe and England. Thanks to increasingly warlike kings in France and England, the Church became a target for taxation and outright plunder. Even more, the kings of Europe levied incredibly high taxes on the people of their countries in an attempt to fund their need for constant warfare. 

Though most of the skirmishes were tiny, the result was the centralization and then dissipation of most of Europe’s funds just so the richest people on the Continent could wage meaningless non-wars against one another. One of the major repercussions of this depletion of funds was the rise of sub-human living conditions that helped brew up the Black Death.


An Economic Boom Turned Disastrous In The 1920s, Leading To The Great Depression

The 1920s saw the American economy swell to heights never before imagined. And that's how the decade is remembered - as one of beaded, alcohol-flowing, flapper-dancing decadence. Unfortunately, that exuberance led to the overvaluing of stocks on Wall Street. When the truth came out, the American economy was decimated. By 1931, more than six million Americans were out of work.

The economic collapse that landed many working Americans in bread lines didn’t end for a full decade, until the Nazi war machine made American manufacturing a vibrant, thrumming part of the war effort.


The Credit Crisis Of 1772 Was Caused Because Some Deadbeat Didn’t Want To Pay Back His Debts

In the 18th century, economic expansion was heavily reliant on investors’ and entrepreneurs’ ability to get credit for their projects. The stability of that credit was, in turn, heavily reliant on people's faith in banks. Cut to a Scottish banker jerk named Alexander Fordyce, who incurred a whole lot of debt and then decided not to repay it.

That became big news in London, because Fordyce was a partner in a huge banking firm in the city. When Fordyce ducked out to avoid his debtors, people lost their faith in the banks who were supposed to be, you know, reliable. The result saw a slow freeze of the European economy that seriously hindered the public’s faith in debt and credit. 

Too bad it didn’t stick.


Tulip Mania Almost Destroyed Holland... No, Really

In 1593, some enterprising flower peddler from Turkey introduced tulips to Holland, and the Dutch went absolutely crazy for the little flowers almost immediately. Unfortunately, the flow of tulips into the country was slow, which drove the price of the flower higher and higher. 

Then, the Dutch tulips got the coolest disease ever: something known as mosaic, a non-threatening disease that turned the petals vibrant colors. This alteration only drove the price of tulips higher. It wasn’t long until people were doing everything they could - even cashing in their life savings and liquidating land - to get their hands on some tulip bulbs. As it turns out, tulip bulbs aren’t actually worth all that much, and most of the investments in tulips turned out to be (surprise!) basically worthless. The resulting depression made the Dutch resistant to the entire speculative investment game for decades to come.


Small Banks Hurt Themselves To Cause The Panic Of 1837

When Andrew Jackson was president in the early 1830s, he operated under the impression that a National Bank was a horrible idea. As a result, he siphoned a whole bunch of funds from the Second Bank of America (AKA, National Bank 2.0) and gave that money to America’s small banks. Sweet, right?

It would have been if the country’s small banks hadn’t sunk all that money into overvalued speculations on exciting new lands in the West. Too bad most of it turned out to be normal farmland or - worse - huge expanses of basically useless rock or sand (it sure is pretty, though).

In 1837, during the early presidency of Martin van Buren, the sh*t really hit the fan. The President refused to change his predecessor's policies or stabilize the ailing economy, a decision that crippled the US economy well into the 1840s (and lost van Buren his re-election bid in 1840).



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Mon, 12 Dec 2016 04:07:43 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/times-in-history-the-economy-almost-collapsed/justin-andress
<![CDATA[13 Infamous Things Andrew Jackson Did That Prove He Was A Terrible President]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-andrew-jackson-facts/thaneeconomou

Andrew Jackson has a complicated legacy. On the one hand, he was a populist hero and a venerated war general. On the other hand, he was a slave trader, massacred Native Americans, created an economic depression, and murdered a man.

"Old Hickory" lived a crazy, messed up life - eventually leading to a presidency where he gave some very bad orders, said some very strange things, and did some very, very f*cked up stuff. Maybe that's why he's referred to by some as "America's worst 'great' president."


13 Infamous Things Andrew Jackson Did That Prove He Was A Terrible President,

He Threatened To Behead His Vice President

Andrew Jackson had many issues with his first Vice President, John Calhoun. And on one occasion, he even threatened to behead him.

Jackson and Calhoun disagreed on the Nullification Crisis (a precursor to the South’s secession) - leading Jackson to remark: "John Calhoun, if you secede from my nation I will secede your head from the rest of your body." Sounds like a great boss!


He Tried To Outlaw Abolitionist Literature And Said Abolitionists Deserved To Die

When abolitionist literature began to flood the American South, Andrew Jackson did exactly what you’d expect a man who had recently established unlimited martial law would do: he banned it.

In the mid-1830s, abolitionists started what has to be the first direct-mail campaign by sending its unsolicited materials to mail boxes around the American South.

Upon hearing about the mailed literature and the chaos it was causing, Jackson said: “I have read with great sorrow and regret that such men live in our happy country – I might have said monsters – as to be guilty of the attempt to stir up amongst the South the horrors of a servile war... [They deserve] to atone for this wicked attempt with their lives.”

The Jackson administration would seek to ban all inflammatory abolitionist material from being delivered by the postal service.


He Fired Hundreds Of Government Employees In Favor Of His Friends

During his campaign, Jackson promised political positions to his key supporters. Then, “on the night of his inauguration, office-seekers so crowded the White House that the party devolved into a near riot.”

Instead of ending corruption (as was part of his populist message), Jackson’s administration has been credited with creating a “spoils system” - in which Jackson purged federal employees in favor of those who had supported him.

At the start of his presidency, Jackson removed 919 government officials (a full 10% of all government employees), and, “within the first year, the new administration dismissed 423 postmasters, many with long and credible records of service.”


He Massacred Fugitive Slaves

During the Seminole War, an alliance formed between Native Americans and fugitive slaves, so it was up to future President Jackson to defeat them both.

Spanish-controlled Florida had become a safe haven for escaped slaves, and many had gathered in an old British fort - dubbed "Negro Fort." Old Hickory that he was, Jackson ordered his troops to destroy the fort. So, a US gunboat launched a cannonball into the fort, hitting their gunpowder and causing an explosion that killed 270.

Eventually, Florida was annexed by the United States, and it was no longer a safe haven for fugitive slaves.


He Ruled New Orleans Like A Dictator

Near the end of the War of 1812, General Jackson arrived in New Orleans to find the city in disarray. Taking command of the situation immediately, Jackson put the city under martial law until the war was over. However, once the war finally ended, he still refused to lift his order for another few months.

When a Louisiana State Senator wrote of his apprehension at the idea of an open-ended martial law, Jackson had the senator arrested. Then, “when a U.S. District Court Judge demanded that the senator be charged or released, Jackson not only refused, he ordered the judge jailed before banishing him from the city.” Nothing scary or unconstitutional about a president acting completely at his own whims, without any separation of powers getting in his way, right?


He Caused An Economic Depression

Andrew Jackson absolutely loathed the Bank of the United States - but his actions against it would lead to a nationwide economic depression.

In 1832, Jackson shut down the Bank of the United States, “opting instead to deposit government funds in select state or 'pet' banks,” which loaned money to just about anyone. This led to inflation. So Jackson had another great idea: stop letting people buy land with paper money (which he also hated).

This “Species Circular” - issued by Jackson on July 11, 1836 - decreed that land could only be bought with gold or silver. But this law made land speculation slow down, which led to decreased revenue for the states, which led to the Panic of 1837.


He Led Brutal Military Campaigns Against Native Americans

After a brutal military campaign during the Creek War, Jackson oversaw the Creek Indians’ terms of surrender. “The agreement called for Creek Indians to surrender some 23 million acres of their land — an area encompassing more than half of present-day Alabama and part of southern Georgia – to the government.”

During the Seminole War, Jackson “ordered his men to destroy crops, take women and children hostage, and deploy savage dogs.” After the war, he proudly wrote to his wife: “I think I may say that the Indian war is at an end for the present, the enemy is scattered over the whole face of the earth, and at least one half must starve and die with disease.”


He Murdered A Man In A Duel

So, Andrew Jackson murdered a man.

In 1806, Charles Dickinson called Jackson a “a coward and equivocator” over a horse-racing related argument. Jackson then challenged Dickinson to a duel.

Dickinson shot first and hit Jackson in the chest, shattering his ribs. But Jackson wasn’t done. “Old Hickory took his time - so much that others questioned his honor after the fact - steadied himself, and fired a fatal shot.”

Jackson would eventually fight in more than 100 duels in his life - including the time he ruptured an artery “when he tried to horsewhip a man who later became his good friend and top ally in the Senate.”

But still, a fatal duel involving a famous politician... where’s Andrew Jackson’s big Broadway musical?

Oh, it premiered in 2010 and turned Jackson into an emo rock star.


He Earned His Fortune As A Slave Trader

The official website for The Hermitage, a museum based at Jackson’s Tennessee estate, says it best:

“In all reality, slavery was the source of Andrew Jackson’s wealth.”

By the time of his death, Jackson owned 161 slaves. And while all previous presidents had owned slaves, Jackson was himself also a slave trader, “engaging in the domestic slave trade that stretched, in his case, from Virginia through Tennessee to New Orleans during the 1790s and beyond.”

And when one of Jackson’s slaves escaped his property, “Jackson offered a $50 reward ‘and $10 extra for every 100 lashes a person will give to the amount of 300.’”


He Signed The Order For The Trail Of Tears

Only a year into his presidency, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act - leading to one of the darkest moments in American history - and by far the most f*cked up thing Jackson (or perhaps any American president for that matter) has ever done.

Jackson, a long-time proponent of the removal of Native Americans from the American South, signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. It gave the government the right to exchange Indian land for a new “Indian colonization zone” out West that would remain separate from the United States. (Spoiler Alert: it’s now Oklahoma).

The Indian Removal Act did not even allow Jackson’s government and armies to force the Native Americans off their ancestral lands. But that is exactly what happened. In 1831, with the US Army threatening an invasion, the Choctaw tribe was the first to be forced to walk the “Trail of Tears.” This march toward the new Indian Territory, without food and supplies, would take as many as 4,000 lives.

One historian wrote that some Choctaw Indians were even “bound in chains and marched double file.”



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Fri, 03 Mar 2017 07:40:32 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/crazy-andrew-jackson-facts/thaneeconomou
<![CDATA[12 Things You Didn't Know About Sokushinbutsu, A.K.A. Self-Mummification]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-sokushinbutsu-japanese-self-mummification-monks/amber-fua

It seems impossible that someone could mummify themselves. But that's exactly what sokushinbutsu is. This self-mummification was a religious practice undergone by Buddhist monks in 11th to 19th century Japan. While the extreme process may seem brutal, the monks who attempted it viewed it as a way to achieve further enlightenment.

That doesn't mean self-mummification is easy. Monks deprived themselves of food and eventually entombed themselves while they were still breathing, all in pursuit of a higher state of being. Successful sokushinbutsu monks are considered living Buddhas.

Sokushinbutsu has been banned in Japan, but some of these Japanese mummy monks still survive today. The Dainichi temple mummies on display give an eerie window into this sacred ritual, with their carefully preserved bones and colorful robes. The monks' remains stand as the ultimate reflection of a life of self-denial.


12 Things You Didn't Know About Sokushinbutsu, A.K.A. Self-Mummification,

It Was All Started By One Priest

In the 9th century, the Japanese monk Kūkai (also known as Kobo Daishi) and his followers practiced Shugendo, which is the practice of discipline in order to obtain spiritual power. Kūkai went through a period of deep meditation near the end of his life. He denied all food and water, and eventually died. His tomb was opened well after his death, and he was found in a life-like state, his condition supposedly resembling sleep.

Since the discovery of Kūkai, the process of sokushinbutsu developed and evolved to be practiced by many in the Shingon sect.


Monks Adhered To Mokujikyo, Or A "Tree-Eating" Diet

In the next thousand days, monks would solely consume things like pine needles, tree bark, and resin. This is why the sokushinbutsu diet was called “tree-eating,” or mokujikyo. If that wasn't intense enough, some x-rays of sokushinbutsu mummies have even revealed river stones within the stomachs of mummies.

After two thousand days of strict dieting, the monks' bodies begin to waste away, undergoing extreme starvation and dehydration.


Decay Indicates Failure

After 1,000 days, the monk's body would be excavated. Frequently, the body would be found rotting. In these instances, a monk's remains would not be fit for worship. The remains would be reburied after an exorcism, and the thousands of days of suffering and meditation would have been for naught.

But if the body didn't show signs of decay, incense smoke would be used to treat the skin and ensure its longevity.


Few Monks Have Been Successful

If a body was found preserved after being exhumed from a burial chamber, it would be worshipped. Mummified monks was seen as Buddhas, so they would be dressed in robes and placed in temples for viewing. Their eyes would be removed, but regardless, it is believed that the sokushinbutsu mummies can see into the souls of the living.


Monks Entombed Themselves Alive

After an intense amount of starvation and meditation, monks would retire to a small tomb or chamber, not much bigger than their own bodies. The monks would typically end up about ten feet below the ground, seated in a lotus position. The coffin would be covered with charcoal, and a bamboo rod was inserted to allow the monk to breath.

The monk would continue to meditate, ringing a bell to signify to others that he was still alive. Once the ringing ceased, it was assumed that the monk had died. The tomb would be sealed, and the corpse would be left underground for another 1,000 days.


They Drank Toxic Urushi Tea

While undergoing starvation, it was common for monks to ingest toxic nuts and herbs to inhibit the growth of bacteria in their bodies. A popular drink was tea made from the bark of the Urushi tree, also known as the Japanese Varnish Tree. The sap from this tree contains abrasive chemicals that can cause a rash much like poison ivy. Drinking this tea hastened the monk's death while helping to preserve his body from the inside out.


It's A 3,000 Day Process

The process of self-mummification typically requires 3,000 days of ritualistic training. This preparation period is necessary for a monk to transform his body into a lasting relic.

The most important physical aspect of this process focuses on diet. Japanese monks attempting to achieve self-mummification would first stop consuming grains and cereals. For the first thousand days, they would only eat nuts and berries.


Sokushinbutsu Was A Sacrifice

Monks who attempted self-mummification did not consider their deaths to be suicides. They practiced sokushinbutsu in order to bring salvation to humankind, believing they would be able to protect people as long as their mummified bodies tied them to Earth.


Starvation Staved Off Decay

The extended period of starvation fulfilled the "necessary requirement of suffering," and also solidified the basis of mummification. As the monk starved, his body rid itself of fat and water - both materials that encourage decay after death. In short, starvation made the monk's body resistant to bacteria and insects.


Arsenic Water Helped Too

Many monks who attempted self-mummification underwent the process near Dainichi-Boo. A nearby spring was discovered to contain high levels of arsenic. Like Urushi tea, this arsenic water probably hastened death while preventing decay.

The most famous sokushinbutsu monk, Shinnyokai Shonin, is seated on Mount Yudono in the Dainichi-Boo Temple.



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Fri, 10 Feb 2017 05:54:56 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-sokushinbutsu-japanese-self-mummification-monks/amber-fua
<![CDATA[The 13 Most Bizarre Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered On Construction Sites]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/strange-items-found-during-construction/daveesons

There have been some seriously strange things found at construction sites. While some people have spent their entire lives searching for buried riches or lost holy relics only to come up short, others have just sort of stumbled upon historical artifacts found at construction sites. The weird stuff found on construction jobs ranges from priceless treasures to tangible evidence of civilizations thought lost forever. Truly, a few of these accidental archeological finds changed what we know about history

In all cases, the stories of those lucky (or unlucky) enough to find a 70-year-old bomb or a mummy in their floorboards are fascinating and often creepier than fiction. These discoveries are by turns heartwarming, stomach-churning, and awe-inspiring. Be careful, or these serendipitous moments may inspire you to start digging in your backyard, combing the beach, or putting holes in your wall. But then again, who knows? You might get lucky.    


The 13 Most Bizarre Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered On Construction Sites,

60,000-Year-Old Wooly Mammoth Tusk Found In Washington State

Beneath the modern frame and foundation of a residential building in Seattle, lay a single, fossilized tusk of mammuthus columbi, the Columbian Mammoth. The fossilized tusk found beneath the building measured over eight feet long, according to paleontologists who were called in to examine the find. 

After closer inspection, it was confidently assessed to be at least 60,000 years old and would need to be carbon dated. Particular credit should be given to AMLI, the residential company that owned the building and land, for taking the step to request that the tusk be removed and preserved by paleontologists. The tusk was soon taken to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle.


A Child's Letter To Santa Claus From 1943 Was Found In A Chimney

At the height of one of the most horrific conflicts in human history, a letter was written by a little boy named David and addressed to Santa Claus during Christmas, 1943. The letter was presumably placed with care inside the chimney of David’s home. 

72 years later, contractor Lewis Shaw was helping demolish the same home when his crew found the letter, still inside the chimney. It read:

“Dear Father Christmas, 

Please can you send me a Rupert annual, and a drum box of chalks, soldiers and Indians, slippers and any little toys you have to spare, 

Love

David”

Miraculously, this touching and very hopeful letter was reunited with David. Shaw tried to track him down with Facebook and by speaking to neighbors who still lived close by. The search even gave birth to a social media campaign, #FindDavid. Shaw eventually found David, who was insanely old but still alive. Thankfully, the letter survived and was returned to David by Shaw.


A 700-Year-Old Mummy Was Found Under A Chinese Road

In 2011, a very well-preserved mummified woman was found underneath a modern road in the city of Taizhou, in the Jiangsu Province of eastern China. The woman, a member of the Ming Dynasty, was found by a construction crew working on a road that she was buried under. Construction workers described her as being submerged in a "‘brown liquid." 

She was just under five feet tall, and dressed in silk finery with robes, slippers, jewelry. Amazingly, her hair and eyebrows were still intact. After observing her and the tomb she was buried in, Taizhou Museum director Wang Weiyin estimated that the mummy is about 700 years old. 

 


An Unexploded World War Two Era RAF Bomb Was Uncovered In Berlin

During the Second World War, Allied bombing campaigns dropped a total of 3.4 million tons of explosives. A lot of those bombs, possibly as many as 15 percent, didn’t explode. They simply disappeared during reconstruction efforts after the war was over. As a result, many countries in Europe and Asia continue to find unexploded ordnance underneath buildings and other public places. 

On Christmas Day 2016 in the Schwabian city of Augsburg in Bavaria, a four-thousand pound (two ton) RAF bomb from World War Two was discovered underneath a construction site. This forced the evacuation of 54,000 local inhabitants. Such chilling reminders of the violence and suffering during World War Two is all too common not just in Germany, but throughout Europe and other parts of the world. 


An 1894 Time Capsule Was Discovered Under A Scottish Bridge

In 2015, in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland, a 121-year-old time capsule was discovered by construction workers on a section of the Ruthven Road bridge. The capsule itself was a metal box, similar to a safe-deposit box at a bank. 

When the capsule was opened, the items inside that were found included: a bottle of whisky, a newspaper from 1894, a scroll, and some other items. The items and the box itself were donated to the nearby Highland Folk Museum to be studied. It is believed that the time capsule was placed within the structure of the bridge when it was originally constructed at the end of the 19th century. 


Around Two Dozen Coffins Were Found Under A Philadelphia Apartment Building

In March, 2017, construction crews working on an apartment complex in Philadelphia unearthed scores of fully intact human bodies and coffins. It's speculated that the remains are from the 18th century, as the nearby Betsy Ross House was allegedly an old burial ground for the First Baptist Church.

When the church moved sometime around 1860, they were supposed to exhume and re-inter all of their parishioners remains. Clearly, they cut some corners. The bodies discovered were sent to the forensics lab at Rutgers-Camden, with the hope of identifying the bodies, cleaning them, and analyzing them. The ultimate resting place of the bodies (after documentation) is Mount Moriah Cemetery. 


A 17th Century African Burial Ground Was Found In Manhattan

History is often obscured by the fog of time and, more literally, rubble. In 1991, plans to build a new federal building in lower Manhattan began with excavation just north of the Tweed Courthouse in what is now Chinatown.  

As excavation progressed, workers discovered a seventeenth century burial ground where African people, enslaved in what was then the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, had been continually buried for about century, between the 1690s and the 1790s. The site sits between Broadway and Centre Street, near Thomas Paine Park. 

Once discovered, the building construction was stopped and further archeological excavation of the site unearthed the remains of the people who were buried there. Some individuals were even identified, notably Groot Manuel, who was identified by his living descendant, Christopher Moore. 

Two years later, the site of the burial ground was recognized as a national historic landmark. A decade later, the remains of over a dozen individuals were ceremoniously reburied, and in 2006 President George W. Bush proclaimed the area a national monument. The discovery and preservation of the burial ground is of huge importance to both African-American history and American history as a whole. 


A Mummified Toddler Was Found In A Parisian Apartment

When faced with death, most people are shocked and upset. These issues are compounded when people are exposed to death in an unlikely place. In 1850, a Parisian couple was having work done in their apartment. While one of the apartment walls was being worked on, the mummified corpse of a baby fell out and into the apartment

At first there was a lot of suspicion about the couple, but Dr. Marcel Bereget decided to determine the amount of time since death by using common house flies to see if they would swarm over the body. It was determined that the child had been dead for quite some time. There was no further information about who the child was or how he or she died and ended up in the wall. Likely, the child had been there for years.


A 13th Century Mansion Was Found Under Somerset, England

In 2013, during construction for a housing development in Wellington, England, excavators discovered the foundations of a 12th-century mansion. Archeologists working on the discovery later discovered that there were no historical records of the building. Normally, large estates have deeds and other records kept by the occupants, local lords, or with church officials. 

While no sufficient information about the mansion’s history or occupants has ever been found, archeologists did discover a segment of tile in the mansion with a knight painted on it. Because this is similar to tiles at Glastonbury Abbey, this revelation made the site and mansion foundations instantly more important and of great historical value. While the housing project continued, the artifacts uncovered from the archeological dig ended up being moved to the Museum of Somerset for study and preservation. 


A Medieval Hospital Was Found In Madrid, Underneath The Future Site Of An Apple Store

The bubonic plague swept from Italy through Europe, sowing sickness and death everywhere. Hospitals became overwhelmed with plague victims, and many had to be shut down and abandoned when no physicians were left to treat sick patients. In 2013, the foundations of one of those hospitals was unearthed in Madrid when Spanish construction crews began excavating for the new Apple Store that was to be built there. 

The hospital dates from the 15th century, and was specifically used to treat victims of the bubonic plague. It continued to be used well into the 19th century, but it was closed and torn down in the 1850s.



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Thu, 16 Feb 2017 07:52:29 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/strange-items-found-during-construction/daveesons
<![CDATA[The Angel of Auschwitz Saved Thousands of Lives By Defying The Nazis]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/brutal-gisella-perl-facts/jen-jeffers

During WWII - in one of the darkest periods of world history - a drama of epic proportions unfolded behind the high brick walls of Germany's notorious concentration camp known as Auschwitz. Described by survivors as being a virtual hell on earth, the heartbreaking stories from Nazi death camps like Auschwitz are too numerous to count. This comes, in part, as a result of the fact that the camp ended the lives of approximately 1.6 million prisoners at Auschwitz alone. But as the infamous villain of the Holocaust, Dr. Josef Mengele, sought to destroy the innocent, there was an angel of light who used her power to undermine him at every turn, essentially changing the course of many lives. Known as the "Angel of Auschwitz" by those who loved her, Gisella Perl was a resourceful woman who used her medical abilities to provide mercy to the innocent in the only way possible - through death. During a time when the world was rife with political lunacy and people were hiding underground, this angel of light worked side by side with the angel of darkness to defy one of the most terrifying regimes in history and provide freedom to the most innocent of all - the unborn. While brutal Gisella Perl stories might not make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, they might just give you a sense of what it means to make difficult but heroic choices in the worst situation imaginable.


The Angel of Auschwitz Saved Thousands of Lives By Defying The Nazis,

She Treated Desperate Prisoners With Her Voice And Her Hands

Women who survived the war remember the kindness and compassion of Perl and how she helped many people endure the unthinkable. She would walk the ward at night, distributing ointment to those suffering from rashes and talking to others wracked with pain and desperation. She would often whisper kind words or calming stories to women on the edge of sanity, reminding them they would live again someday and reclaim their lives. She reminded them to be survivors and keep their hopes up for the future. She treated them with her voice as well as her hands, even singing songs of Rosh Hashanah in a way to mark the Jewish new year. To the women at Auschwitz, she was a hero.


She Remembers Killing A Living Baby

Perl's grief at the tasks she had to perform at Auschwitz was immense; she even tried to commit suicide in the years following her release. This grief was also greatly compounded by her memories of the pregnant women at Auschwitz and the many lost babies she witnessed. While most people respected her decision to help the innocent through aborting fetuses, there were still those who found her decision highly controversial.

All in all, she is estimated to have performed close to 3,000 abortions during her time at Auschwitz and, by her own admission, even induced early labor in some women who were too far gone. These babies were mostly underdeveloped and died instantly in the darkness of the barracks. In her memoir, she also tells the story of one young woman who was so close to full term, the baby was born alive. Although Perl tried to keep it safe, she was terrified the guards would hear his cries, which would surely mean death for some. So, she took the "little warm body in her hands, kissed the smooth face, then strangled him and buried him under a mountain of corpses waiting to be cremated."


She Was Liberated Only To Find Her Family Was Dead

There was only one other camp during the Holocaust with the same terrifying reputation as Auschwitz - a place called Bergen-Belsen. Towards the end of the war, Perl was transferred there as the Nazis tried to consolidate and dispose of the remaining Jews before approaching armies discovered them. Once she was liberated, she (along with millions of others) began searching for her lost family, only to discover her husband, son, and parents had all died just a few weeks before liberation. As soon as she was able, Perl left Europe and tried to enter the US, but she was heavily interrogated by the naturalization service who suspected her to be a Nazi sympathizer. Her post-traumatic suffering and grief were intense during that time, and she even attempted suicide - but she was finally granted US citizenship in 1951. She went on to deliver many healthy babies afterward, which she felt God owed her.
 


Her Boss Was A Medical Maniac

Dr. Josef Mengele was not just any doctor during the Holocaust - he was a medical maniac of the highest order. Interested in the difference between identical twins and people with physical abnormalities like heterochromia iridum (eyes of two different colors), Mengele performed endless experimental surgeries on prisoners who could offer no resistance at Auschwitz. Given the circumstances of the war, he was accountable to no one and was able to validate his work using grant money from the government. His medical ward was conveniently attached to the crematorium, which heightened the ease of his experimentation and made disposal of bodies simple. Perl bore witness to these atrocities, and, even worse, she was expected to assist him whenever he requested. 


She Couldn't Get The Horrors Of Auschwitz Out Of Her Mind

When Perl was finally liberated from the hell of the camps, she published a memoir in 1948, I Was a Doctor At Auschwitz, in which she chronicled some of her darkest moments at the camp. The brutal tactics at the camp were legendary, and Perl was deeply scarred by her time there and the lengths she had to go to in saving innocent lives. The senseless violence and death of that time haunted her for many, many years, much of which is carefully recounted in her autobiography.

"Women were surrounded by a group of SS men and women, who amused themselves by giving these helpless creatures a taste of hell, after which death was a welcome friend... They were beaten with clubs and whips, torn by dogs, dragged around by their hair and kicked in the stomach with heavy German boots. Then, when they collapsed, they were thrown into the crematory–alive."


She Was Forced To Do Things She Would've Found Unthinkable Before The War

In her memoir, Perl illustrated the deeply nefarious way the Nazis handled the prisoners at Auschwitz, not just torturing them physically but emotionally as well. She wrote:

"One of the basic Nazi aims was to demoralize, humiliate, ruin us, not only physically but also spiritually. They did everything in their power to push us into the bottomless depths of degradation. Their spies were constantly among us to keep them informed about every thought, every feeling, every reaction we had, and one never knew who was one of their agents. There was only one law in Auschwitz - the law of the jungle - the law of self-preservation. Women who in their former lives were decent self-respecting human beings now stole, lied, spied, beat the others and - if necessary - killed them, in order to save their miserable lives. Stealing became an art, a virtue, something to be proud of."

In this way, she too became a victim of these circumstances, committing acts she would have otherwise found despicable. But, in these unique conditions, what she knew before in life no longer applied - there were new rules in place, and she had to work within them, no matter how difficult it may have been. The alternative was simply death.


She And Her Family Were Separated Forever As Soon As They Got To Auschwitz

Before Auschwitz became a stark reality, Gisella Perl worked as a successful Jewish gynecologist in Romania where she lived with her husband and two children. When her town was invaded in 1944, she made the spontaneous decision to leave her daughter in the safe keeping of some non-Jewish neighbors just hours before the Nazis knocked on her door. Soon loaded on a train with her husband, son, and elderly parents, Perl would endure a harrowing eight-day journey towards the living hell known as Auschwitz. Upon arrival, the family was immediately separated, never to see each other again. 

But Perl was not like the other women in her barrack - she was a medical doctor and a professional who could be useful to the Nazis. Her skills were valuable in a place where disease and death were rife, and she was soon placed in the camp's medical ward where she would meet the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele. As her captor and supervisor, she was subject to his every demand, even those that involved horrific experiments on human prisoners. 


She Was Tricked Into Killing Pregnant Women

S.S. officers had an affinity for whipping the bare breasts of women at Auschwitz, and Perl was responsible for healing these wounds and performing surgery on pregnant woman in distress. The appalling medical conditions of the camp made her job painfully difficult, as there was little running water, no anesthesia, and no clean equipment. She tended to everything from diseases brought on by torture, filth, starvation, and vermin to skulls cracked open by violence.

Before Perl understood the implications of her role as Mengele's assistant, she tried to satisfy his wishes by rounding up all the pregnant women in the camp for his inspection. He told her he wanted to make sure they were being properly fed and cared for. But his true intentions became clear the day Perl delivered up 50 expecting mothers to his medical ward, only to see them herded into a Red Cross truck and driven directly to the ovens. Devastated by her lapse in judgment and riddled with guilt at the deaths of these innocent women, Perl could barely stand living another day.


She Watched As The Angel Of Death Performed Horrific Experiments On Prisoners

One of 30 doctors at Auschwitz, Mengele was driven by his own psychotic need to understand the physiques of different races and what made them unique. His favorite time of day was when the new prisoners landed on the train platform, and he was able to hand-pick his medical subjects out of the hundreds of unsuspecting women and children. He was, of course, never short on subjects and had a wide variety to choose from, always selecting those who he believed would best further his medical research. Once assigned to his ward, the prisoners were likely in store for a lengthy period of torture before they welcomed death with open arms. Mengele was known to perform medical dissections on conscious patients and use pregnant women and their unborn fetuses as guinea pigs in his perverse studies. When the procedures ended in death, he simply tossed the bodies in the crematorium. 


She Performed Abortions In The Dark

Once Perl fully understood the intentions of Dr. Mengele, she made a conscious decision to work against him. She knew he was targeting pregnant women for his research - a fact that would only lead them to death - and she was determined to put a stop to his crimes. If he was hell bent on butchering the pregnant women at Auschwitz, she would have to help these innocent mothers find a way to escape their dire situation. So, she began performing secret abortions in the barracks at night - in filthy conditions - working in the dark so Mengele and the S.S. officers would not suspect anything. She knew their plight in the camps could not be permanent, and if she could just keep these pregnant women alive for a while longer, perhaps they could go on to have healthy families someday. 



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Thu, 09 Feb 2017 01:05:40 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/brutal-gisella-perl-facts/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[12 Surprising Facts Most People Don't Know About Joan of Arc]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/badass-joan-of-arc-facts/tamar-altebarmakian

Jeanne d'Arc - Joan of Arc, to English speakers - was a woman ahead of her time. Although she only lived for 19 years in the early 15th century, she made her mark on history. In an era when women were considered second-class citizens, Joan led an army and inspired a country. These surprising Joan of Arc facts will give you new insight into the young peasant who rallied French troops in massive victories against the English during the Hundred Years' War and helped establish Charles VII as the king of France.

One of the most badass historical women, Joan rode into battle and drove fear into the hearts of her enemies, all while sustaining multiple near-fatal injuries. She tirelessly fought for her God and her country, and although she helped restore faith in France, she was tried by the Catholic church and burned at the stake before she turned twenty. Like many other saints, Joan of Arc's true legacy was decided after her death as stories about her grew into legends. Heretic or heroine, Joan of Arc was fiercely passionate and just straight up fierce.


12 Surprising Facts Most People Don't Know About Joan of Arc,

She Chose Not To Engage In Combat

While Joan of Arc led the French army to victory during the Hundred Years’ War, she didn’t engage in combat herself. Her role was more that of a military strategist and a rallying figure for her troops. Joan's weapon of choice was her banner, and she chose to carry that into battle instead of a weapon.

Joan is quoted as saying, "I loved my banner forty times better than my sword. And when I went against my enemy, I carried my banner myself, lest I kill any. I have never killed a man."


She Found Her Sword Thanks To Her Voices

Joan’s voices told her she could find one of her four swords at the church of Saint Catherine of Fierbois, behind the church’s altar. She wrote to one of the bishops of the church and asked if they could unearth the sword and send it to her. The bishops found the rust covered sword, cleaned it up, and sent it to Joan.


She Stayed Pious Until The End

There is some disagreement about what Joan of Arc’s last words were before she was burned at the stake. According to historians, she likely said "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," and "Hold the crucifix up before my eyes so I may see it until I die."


Her Name Wasn’t Joan And She Wasn’t From Arc

Joan referred to herself as "Jehanne," which was translated to "Joan" by the English. As for the misconception that she came from a place called "Arc," that's another error of translation - she was actually from the French village Domrémy. The confusion about her name came from her father’s surname, d’Arc. Joan’s preferred moniker for herself was Jehanne la Pucelle, which translated to "Joan the Maiden."


She Jumped Out Of A Tower After Being Captured

When Joan was captured by the English-allied Burgundians, she was imprisoned in a castle until she went to trial. During this time, Joan became so desperate that she jumped off the castle tower. It’s unclear if this was a suicide attempt or a stab at an escape. However, she was recaptured, and was eventually delivered to the English to be tried.


She Might Have Had Epilepsy

Joan began to hear voices and have visions around the age of 13 - the same voices that would eventually tell her to lead the French army against the English and help establish Charles VII as France’s king. During her trial, she said that when the voices spoke to her she would often see bright lights. Joan also said that the voices would become clearer whenever bells were ringing in the background. Based on these symptoms, some medical experts believe she could have suffered from epilepsy or some other neurological disorder.


She Survived Several Near-Fatal Injuries

Joan suffered many injuries. She reportedly fell from a siege ladder and once had a heavy rock thrown at her head - luckily, her helmet blocked the blow. During the storming of the fort of Les Tourelles, Joan was struck in the chest with an arrow. She applied some salve on the wound, and continued to lead her men in battle, which terrified the English. It’s difficult to tell whether these accounts were exaggerated, but they were effective tools for intimidating the enemy.


She Had An Amazing Memory

Joan was born a peasant girl, and reading and writing weren’t a required skill for a woman of her station - she was taught to spin and sew instead. That didn’t stop her from achieving her goals. Even though Joan was illiterate, she was incredibly sharp, as proven by her military tactics. Her contemporaries often remarked upon her exceptional memory.

But her lack of literacy may have hurt her in the end; some historians have speculated that Joan didn't understand that she signed a document confessing to her crimes.


She Bossed Around Knights

Like many teenagers, Joan had a pretty vicious temper. She would yell at knights who swore, skipped mass, or misbehaved. Although Joan didn’t use her swords in combat, she did use them to chase off prostitutes who were traveling with her army, hitting them with flat side of her blades. During her trial she said her swords were “excellent for giving hard clouts and buffets.”


She Wasn’t Burned For Witchcraft

Joan had 70 charges raised against her, including practicing witchcraft, but the charges were reduced to a handful. The accusations that led to her being burned at the stake all dealt with her dressing as a man and believing she could talk to God.



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Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:01:02 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/badass-joan-of-arc-facts/tamar-altebarmakian
<![CDATA[How The Catholic Church Castrated Young Boys And Made Them Sing]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/disturbing-castrati-facts/jen-jeffers

The castrati were once the toast of Rome. These singers were known for their angelic, high voices - equivalent to that of a soprano - and were often the most celebrated in the chorus. And while their voices were beautiful, the male singers designated as castrati had to undergo something very disturbing. Castrato male singers were castrated before puberty so they would never reach sexual maturity.

When the Pope banned women from public singing in the mid-16th century, it seemed the operatic profession was forever ruined. Young boys filled in for a time, but boys naturally matured into men which caused their voices to drop. That's when the Romans took matters into their own hands and turned to body modification. These Italian singers left a dark legacy in their wake - men trapped in prepubescent bodies. And while the castrati singers no longer exist, the disturbing tale of how they came to be remains. 


How The Catholic Church Castrated Young Boys And Made Them Sing,

Thousands Of Boys Were Castrated And Not All Of Them Survived

Creating young eunuchs was the ideal way to harness the pitch and power of an adult voice while not compromising the ethereal, light, and strangely disembodied sound of a youth. It was a true artistic hybrid. Italian boys with gifted voices were taken to back-alley surgeons who would heavily sedate their subjects with opium and place them in a hot bath. The expert would snip the ducts leading to the testicles, which would then wither over time and leave the boys in a state of perpetual boyhood.

By the early 1700s, it was estimated over 4,000 young men a year received the operation, and only 80 percent of them survived. The average age of a boy receiving the operation was eight, and while the practice was extremely common, it was technically illegal. 


Female Singers Were Banned From The Stage - And Castrated Boys Were Put In Their Place

Opera and opera singers have been celebrated throughout history, particularly by medieval Romans who enjoyed its ability to transcend the listener. And a huge part of that experience was the inclusion of female singers who could hit notes at high registers. At this time in history, however, the Catholic Church didn't allow women to sing in any kind of religious setting.

Thus beings the story the castrati. In 1588, Pope Sixtus V took the female singer ban even further by restricting them from singing on any kind of stage, period. This posed a major problem for the world of opera, as sopranos were particularly essential to the art. Young male singers are capable of hitting the same notes as adult female sopranos, but their immature voices crack and lower as they approached manhood. What soon began was the manipulation of nature, a deviant process of castrating promising young boys at just the right time to stunt their vocal cords and capture their high, youthful voices forever.


They Had No Life Of Their Own, And Often Died Sad And Alone

To go under the knife - to be eternalized as a castrati - was never by choice of the child, and limited what any boy could do with the remainder of their life. These men were forbidden to partake in the Church, the government, or the military, and could have no real families of their own. They were entertainers for the masses and nothing else. But some of them did not find success in opera at all and ended up singing in the streets for change or turning to prostitution as a way to support themselves. Even though there were those who adored the castrati, there were plenty who found them repugnant, and their admiration was greatly mixed with public scorn. Often referred to as geldings, nature's rejects, or capons, a great many castrati committed suicide. 


Castrati Were Extremely Sexualized, And Desired By Both Men And Women

As Casanova once said, "Rome forces every man to become a pederast," and it was never more true than in the case of the castrati. In his memoirs, he recounted an orgy between several women and castrati stood in a line and made participants guess who were female and who were male. Castrati were biological men who looked female, and often acted like it too. They lived outside the scope of normal gender, creating a sexual temptation for both men and women who fantasized about unconventional ways to find pleasure. Castrati were seen as neither female nor male. 

In fact, castrato singers had a reputation as being extremely sexual, and their sexual exploits could be compared to those of modern day celebrities. 


The Most Famous Castrato Sang Until 1922

Known as the very last of his breed, Alessandro Moreschi - nicknamed the Angel of Rome - performed as a castrato until his death in 1922. Despite being banned several years before, he was castrated in 1865 and went on to have an illustrious career. He retired in 1913, but not before making the first (and only) recording of a castrato singer. Because of Moreschi's unique singing style, it's unlikely that he sang like the great castrato singers of the past. But there's no doubt Moreschi's voice is unlike that of any regular man. 


Castration Was Dangerous, Done With No Anesthesia, And Extremely Painful

Modern science proves castration restricts the formation of testosterone in the male body, and allows the male voice to grow about 63 percent longer than before the procedure. This natural process also caused the thyroid to thicken over time, creating the quintessential manly trait known as the "Adam's apple." Autopsies done on a castrato after death proved the dimensions of their vocal cords were equivalent to those a female soprano.

In the time of the Italian castrati, there was no anesthesia and boys were either numbed up with ice or pushed into a comatose state by having their carotid artery pressed by a surgeon's assistant. The penis and testicles were not actually amputated, but rather the vas deferens in the scrotum were cut and the testicles would essentially shrivel and disappear. Not only was the procedure itself extremely painful, castration of this kind left lifelong scars both physically and mentally.


Women Would Start Affairs With Castrati Because They Looked Like Women

English women were unusually fond of the Italian castrati. The singers could easily pass as female. Women involved with castrati would invite them to a party - appearing as a woman - and would engage in sexual affairs right under the noses of their watching husbands. Although the young men were normally forbidden to marry by the Church, they would occasionally receive special legal dispensation and often flounced around the streets of Rome. Some even turned to a life of prostitution to make some extra money on the side, servicing both male and female clients. 

 


They Were The Rock Stars Of Their Day

Castrati were not only infamous for their erotic nature but were known to be true divas, famous for their tantrums and insufferable vanity. Regarded as highly emotional and excessive, they often engaged in catty in-fighting with other performers and friends. They had been groomed for the stage, with all the drama and mercurial temperament it required, and their personal lives often reflected that of the operas they performed.

Despite the massive numbers of young boys who were subjected to this type of castration, only a lucky few actually made it to the big time. When they did, their careers resembled modern-day rock stars, touring the great opera houses of Europe from Madrid to Moscow, commanding fabulous fees, and bringing both male and female admirers to their knees.


A Castrato's Body Physically Developed In Unusual Ways

As the bodies of a castrato grew, a lack of testosterone restricted his bone joints from hardening in the normal way. The limbs of a castrato often grew unusually long, giving them a seraphic look. This, combined with intensive vocal training, gave them unrivaled lung power, breath capacity, and large chests. Singing through small, child-sized vocal cords, their voices were also extraordinarily flexible and quite different from the equivalent voice of an adult female. Their physical appearances and unique voices made them stick out.

But while the form of the castrato was seen as elegant, the repercussions of the surgery were often felt later in life when their large bones developed osteoporosis and their organs began to struggle beneath the weight of their extremely tall bodies. It was also common for castrati to become depressed as they aged. Many felt extreme mental anguish, were extremely sensitive, and often had an erratic mental state. Researchers aren't sure why exactly, but research of castrati bones show the many of the singers developed hypertosis frontalis interna. The rare disease occurs when the front bone of the skull thickens, and causes seizures, headaches, and affects the sex glands. 


While Popularized In Medieval Rome, Castrati Go Back To The Ninth Century

Although the Italian castrati are the most prominent example of voluntary castration, the procedure dates back to ancient Sumeria where it was used to enslave and punish men. Eunuch singers similar to those in Medieval Rome are believed to have existed in the early days of the Byzantine Empire around year 400, where they sang in choirs and entertained the public. They became increasingly popular in the 9th century until they all but disappeared in the early 13th century with the sack of Constantinople during the Crusades. The castrati basically vanished during that time until they were rediscovered during by the Italians some 300 years later. 

Soldiers in imperial China also engaged in voluntary castration - but not for singing. Before signing up for service, soldiers in 17th century China were castrated and employed to serve the emperor. 



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Thu, 16 Feb 2017 08:45:16 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/disturbing-castrati-facts/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[14 Facts About The Tortured, Miserable Life of Vincent van Gogh]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-vincent-van-gogh/philgibbons

Although it resulted in some of the most remarkable artwork ever created, the life of Vincent van Gogh was marked by poverty, loneliness, rejection, and mental illness. Vincent van Gogh's biography is sad enough on its own; that his paintings would ultimately become the most sought after and expensive status symbols in the art world is an irony practically too cruel to comprehend. To an individual who frequently had to choose between purchasing food or canvas and paint, the idea that even a single Van Gogh would today fetch hundreds of millions of dollars would seem inconceivable. But in the context of the painter's life, it is only appropriate, considering these sad and bizarre facts about Vincent van Gogh.  

Vincent van Gogh was a failure in just about everything he attempted in his abbreviated life. But he generated 900 paintings and over 2,000 artworks in a 10-year period. Mostly ignored, battling his own inner demons, and surviving through the intervention and kindness of a sibling, his major flaw was possessing an artistic genius and vision that were way ahead of its time. His life's sacrifice is a body of work that today elicits a cult-like fascination with both his paintings and his tortured and strange existence. 


14 Facts About The Tortured, Miserable Life of Vincent van Gogh,

One Of His Final Paintings Depicts The Field Where He Committed Suicide

In the the three months of his tenure at Auvers-Sur-Oise, Vincent van Gogh composed 70 paintings, many of them his most famous works. On July 27, 1890, Van Gogh made his way to the wheat fields just north of his residence at an inn in Auvers-Sur-Oise. He had borrowed a pistol from his innkeeper, ostensibly to scare off crows while he was painting; instead, he is believed to have turned the gun on himself. Coincidentally, one of Van Gogh's final paintings is the haunting and symbolic Wheatfield With Crows, an abstract work filled with black crows, paths leading nowhere, and ominous skies. It depicts the field where Van Gogh attempted to kill himself. Wounding himself in the chest, he would stumble back to his inn, say little about what he had done, and die 30 hours later with his brother Theo at his side. The cemetery that Vincent and Theo are buried in is only a few hundred feet from this vantage point. 


The Nazis Declared Him A 'Degenerate'

Vincent van Gogh was one of many artists that the Nazis declared "degenerate." Not content to merely remove certain paintings and artists from the state's museums, they went so far as to organize auctions to sell off such artwork en masse. One of the works caught up in this process was a self portrait by Van Gogh that is among his most famous works. Not only is the jade background a striking color, but the almost oblong skull of Van Gogh also makes the painting an unusual rendition and an unmistakable image. But it is the historical context of the painting that really makes it unique. The official title of the painting is Self Portrait Dedicated To Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh painted it in 1888, inscribed it  "A Mon Ami Paul," and sent it to Gauguin at the artist's home in Brittany, in the hope it would induce him to come to the proposed "artist's colony" in Arles.

Despite their falling out, Gauguin must have liked the painting because he kept it until 1897 when, attempting to raise money for one of his Polynesian excursions, he pawned it to a Parisian art dealer who subsequently sold it for 300 francs. Thinking that the inscription would lessen the sales price, someone, probably Gauguin, obscured the dedication, which is still faintly visible in the upper portion of the painting. When the painting was auctioned off in Lucerne, in 1939, it went for 12,000 pounds, a surprisingly high price. Purchased by banker Maurice Wertheim, upon his death, it was bequeathed to Harvard University, where it hangs in the Fogg Art Museum.    


His Therapist Made Off With Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Van Gogh's Art When He Died

Vincent van Gogh spent the last 90 days of his life in the small French town of Auvers-Sur-Oise, 20 miles from Paris. His brother Theo sent him to Auvers based on the recommendations from other artists because of a doctor who lived there by the name of Paul Gachet. Dr. Gachet was a physician and devotee of homeopathic medicine, and Theo was hoping that he could help his brother achieve some semblance of stability and happiness. Gachet was also an artist and art collector who traded his services for paintings from the likes of Cezanne, Renoir, and Van Gogh, who famously painted his portrait. Unfortunately, although he became quite friendly with Van Gogh in his last days, Gachet was unable to prevent his suicide in July of 1890. After the funeral of Van Gogh, who was buried in Auvers, in the town cemetery, Theo van Gogh invited the small circle of mourners back to Vincent's lodgings and suggested they each take a painting in remembrance of his brother. When it was their turn, Paul Gachet and his son gathered up as many paintings as they could carry. Although these paintings would be privately kept by Gachet's son for many years, he ultimately donated most of them to the Louvre, and today they make up the bulk of the Van Gogh exhibition at the Musee D'Orsay.  


His Most Famous Work Was Painted While He Was In An Asylum

After a psychotic breakdown, Van Gogh voluntarily committed himself to the Saint-Paul Asylum in St. Remy-de-Provence in May of 1889. Although he was not allowed to paint in his actual bedroom, he was granted studio space in another room. Many of the paintings that he continued to turn out during this prolific period were merely landscapes of the view from his asylum room, minus the bars. For what is considered to be his most famous painting, The Starry Nighthe was allowed to sketch a nightscape, which he then transformed during the day. The swirling skies and aura around the stars have been interpreted as everything from the symbolism of infinity to the hallucinations resulting from Van Gogh's mental illness. Van Gogh thought so little of The Starry Night that he withheld it from the batches of paintings he routinely sent to his brother to sell in Paris because he wanted to save money on postage. Of the painting he commented in a letter:

"I have been slaving away on nature the whole year, hardly thinking of impressionism or of this, that and the other. And yet, once again I let myself go reaching for stars that are too big - a new failure - and I have had enough of it."


He Only Had One Romantic Relationship In His Entire Life

Vincent van Gogh was not so reclusive and socially inept that he didn't attempt to romance and even marry female acquaintances that he encountered. While living in England in his early 20s, he was rebuffed by the daughter of a landlady who was engaged to another man. He was also famously rejected by his first cousin with the phrase "No, nay never." In what sounds like a nineteenth century version of a stalker, he showed up in Amsterdam to continue the pursuit to the extent that his cousin would not even agree to see him.

In 1882, in The Hague to study drawing with a friend, Van Gogh made the acquaintance of a seamstress and prostitute named Clasina Maria Hoornink. Hoornink had a five-year-old daughter and was expecting a child fathered by a man who had abandoned her. Eventually, she would move in with Van Gogh, the only domestic relationship he enjoyed in his lifetime. Although he told Theo he wanted to marry the woman, after his apoplectic pastor father demanded he end the relationship, and his brother sensibly advised the same, Vincent eventually left Clasina Hoornink - but not before she gave Vincent a dose of gonorrhea. She subsequently gave her children to family members to raise and eventually committed suicide by hurling herself into a Rotterdam canal in 1904. Some historians have attempted to connect her son's paternity to Vincent, but it is pretty clear that the dates don't match up.


He Only Sold One Painting During His Lifetime

In 1889, Vincent van Gogh was invited to exhibit at Les XX, an annual art show in Brussels sponsored by 20 local artists who displayed their own work as well as the work of 20 invitees. Vincent submitted three landscapes, two sunflower studies and a painting, titled The Red Vineyard. Anna Boch, the sister of a friend of Van Gogh, Eugene Boch, paid 400 francs for the painting (about $80 in 1890).  Because Van Gogh's work was greeted by many in the art community with derision, Anna wished to encourage him with the purchase. Although Van Gogh may have sold some drawings and works unofficially, this is the only publicly recorded sale that occurred in his lifetime. Today, The Red Vineyard hangs in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, having been nationalized from a Russian collector after the revolution.


He Had An Unfailing Supporter In His Brother

Without Theo van Gogh, there would have never been the artist Vincent van Gogh. Initially, when they were employed by the same art dealer, it was Theo who encouraged his brother to pursue art as a vocation. Because his instability and even mental illness made him virtually unemployable, most of Vincent's financial support came from Theo. Theo van Gogh was also a strong proponent of Impressionist art and artists when this school of painting was still relatively undiscovered. Vincent van Gogh lived with Theo in Paris from 1886 until 1888, and, through Theo's business contacts, he met some of the most prominent artists of the time period including Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, Seurat, Cezanne, and the aforementioned Gauguin. Theo and Vincent's remarkable relationship and Theo's unflagging encouragement and emotional support are chronicled in the numerous letters that they exchanged. Fortunately these letters were preserved and reprinted in the 20th century. During his lifetime, Theo was discussing his brother with another artist friend and commented:

"I should not be surprised if my brother were one of the great geniuses and will one day be compared to someone like Beethoven."

Time proved Theo correct. 


Mental Illness And Suicide Were Common In The Van Gogh Family

Vincent van Gogh's parents had six children: three sons and three daughters. Of these six, Vincent struggled with mental illness for his entire adult life and ended it in suicide. Theo van Gogh died under mysterious circumstances that are historically obscure but may have been related to syphilis, suicide, or mental illness. The third brother, Cornelius, was 14 years younger than Vincent and lived in South Africa. After his marriage disintegrated, he enlisted during the Boer-British conflict, was captured, and committed suicide at 33. Wilhemina van Gogh would spend the last four decades of her life in a mental institution, suffering from conditions that were similar to Vincent's maladies.  


He Cut Off His Ear Lobe In An Attempt To Win Back A Friend

In the summer of 1888, Vincent van Gogh left the city of Paris and headed to the Provence region of France. Supported financially by his art-dealer brother Theo, he ultimately settled in the ancient town of Arles, where he rented a large yellow house and began to dream of establishing an artist colony where he and other like-minded painters could live and create. Theo and Vincent were acquainted with Paul Gauguin, another cutting-edge impressionist that both men admired professionally. It took some persuasion, but in October of 1888, Gauguin agreed to move to the Yellow House, and initially the two artists functioned reasonably well together. Gauguin was a streetwise, former stock exchange worker, and van Gogh was a troubled and talented young man. Unfortunately, the acerbic and condescending Gauguin and the sensitive, needy Vincent van Gogh quickly began to get on each other's nerves. What little money they had was consumed by drinking and visits to nearby brothels. Eventually, sensing correctly that Gauguin was preparing to abandon him and their "artistic colony," Van Gogh descended into drunken agitation and hostility.

According to Gauguin, on December 23, after another savage argument, he moved out and checked into a hotel when Van Gogh threatened him with a knife. Supposedly, Van Gogh sliced off much of his left ear lobe, walked to a familiar brothel and presented the bloody appendage to a prostitute named Rachel, who fainted on the spot. Because Gauguin's self-serving account is the only perspective that remains, speculation continues around what exactly happened and who exactly cut off Van Gogh's ear. A recent theory is that Gauguin, an accomplished fencer, actually lopped off the ear during the pair's final argument. Whatever the case, Van Gogh evaded police on the night of the 23rd but, because they knew of his eccentric identity, they eventually made it to the Yellow House, where they discovered him in his blood soaked bed. Van Gogh was taken to the hospital and eventually committed himself to a mental asylum. Gauguin noticed the police activity when he returned and left Arles on Christmas Day, informing Theo of his brother's condition while en route to Paris.

Although the two artists would never see each other again, they would continue to correspond. With his typical arrogance, within weeks, Gauguin sent Van Gogh a letter requesting that Vincent give him back paintings that he had previously gifted.  


Van Gogh's Last Innkeeper Sold His Two Van Gogh Paintings For Forty Francs

Arthur Ravoux was the innkeeper who housed Vincent van Gogh at the Auberge Ravoux for the last three months of the artist's life. His family got to know the artist who took his meals with them and whose absence at dinner on the day he attempted suicide indicated something was seriously wrong. Upon Van Gogh's death, Arthur Ravoux, not wanting to appear grasping, refused any additional paintings from Theo, save for the two he already possessed, a portrait of his daughter Adeline and a landscape of the Auvers town hall, which was across the street and which Van Gogh painted from the street in front of the inn.

Both paintings were displayed in the Auberge until the Ravoux family moved to the town of Meulan and operated a cafe there. In 1905, two American artists staying in Meulan heard that Arthur Ravoux had two Van Goghs and asked to see them. When they mentioned that the paint was already deteriorating and he should give the artworks to them to be preserved properly, Ravoux demanded that he be paid something despite his belief that the paintings were virtually worthless. They quickly settled on a price: 40 francs, about 10 American dollars.



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Mon, 27 Feb 2017 08:04:51 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-vincent-van-gogh/philgibbons
<![CDATA[The Most Bizarre Assassination Attempts In History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/bizarre-assassination-attempts/philgibbons

Throughout history there have been many bizarre tales of failed assassins, individual plots almost as crazy some of the weirdest WWII plans, or as unlikely and improbable as these amazing World War II secret missions. These bizarre assassination attempts seem to continue to occur regardless of the security or the popularity of the ruler or public figure.

Usually, the lack of success of these WTF historical assassination fails are attributable to luck or circumstance, proving that crazy assassination attempts are no less dangerous or inconsequential. If things had gone just a little differently, these crazy attempted assassinations might have been successful.    


The Most Bizarre Assassination Attempts In History,

FDR Was Almost Shot To Death By A Man Shorter Than Napoleon

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the President-Elect when he began giving a speech to a small crowd in a Miami park on February 15, 1933. Roosevelt was speaking from the rear seat of an open car, as his polio made it less awkward than speaking from a platform. The crowd pressed forward, and 32-year-old Giuseppe "Joe" Zangara fired six shots at FDR.

Here's where it gets weird. The diminutive 5'1" Zangara had to stand on an unstable folding chair to get a reasonable vantage point to shoot FDR. Fun fact: he bought the pistol for eight dollars at a pawn shop. None of the shots hit Roosevelt, but they did hit five other people, including Chicago mayor Anton Cermak.

Zangara was initially sentenced to eighty years in jail, but when Cermak died from peritonitis three weeks after the shooting, the would-be assassin was retried for murder and given the death penalty. Zangara plead guilty and was sentenced to death. Five weeks after the shooting and after only ten days on Death Row at Raiford, Florida, Zangara was placed in 'Ol Sparky (Florida's electric chair) and executed. His final words: "Viva l'Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere! ... Push the button! Go ahead, push the button!"   


The Soviet Government Covered Up An Assassination Attempt On Leonid Brezhnev For 30 Years

On January 22, 1969, a mentally unstable, disaffected Russian soldier fired numerous shots at a motorcade purportedly transporting Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev to a ceremony honoring several cosmonauts. What made this assassination attempt remarkable was that, despite its occurrence on live Soviet television and in front of a large crowd, it was obscured for 30 years before the Russian government released specific details of the incident.

At the time, the Soviet government acknowledged to the Western press that an "incident" occurred but other than a terse statement a few days after the attempt, no other details were offered. The assassin, Viktor Ilyin, was personally interviewed by KGB head Yuri Andropov, declared insane and placed in a Stalinist-style mental institution. 

Despite the fact that he did kill the chauffeur of one the limos and slightly wounded the cosmonauts, Ilyin was eventually released from the mental institution in the '90s and given an apartment and a disability pension.  


The Royal Dutch Family Escaped Suicide Car Attack, But Eight People Died

On April 30, 2009, during a parade honoring a Dutch national holiday, a car driven at high speed narrowly missed the open air bus containing Queen Beatrix and other members of the Dutch royal family. In front of thousands of horrified onlookers, the car then slammed into a monument, striking 17 pedestrians. Eight individuals, including the driver, 38-year-old Karst Tates, would eventually die from their injuries. 

Tates had apparently recently lost his job and faced eviction, but had no criminal record and no drugs or alcohol in his system. Before losing consciousness, Tates did state to police that he meant to harm the Dutch royal family. No concrete motive for the attack was ever verified. News accounts described Tates as a "loner."


Pope John Paul II Was Shot Twice In The Stomach And No One Knows Why

On May 13, 1981, a Turkish national named Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II. As John Paul greeted a St. Peters Square crowd in his Popemobile, Agca shot the Pope four times, twice hitting him in the midsection. He was rushed to the hospital and recovered.

Agca's motivation and political connections have always been murky. Although Agca has claimed that he was paid by Turkish criminals to kill the Pope, he also met extensively with Bulgarian embassy officials in Rome leading up to the assassination attempt.

One theory is that the the Soviet government, concerned with the effect that John Paul II would have on Iron Curtain countries, wanted the Pope killed. No concrete motive for Agca's attempt was ever verified. At the request of John Paul II, the Italian president pardoned Agca and he was deported to Turkey in June of 2000.

He would spend much of the next ten years either in prison or in legal jeopardy for crimes committed before he shot the Pope. Agca frequently changed his story concerning who ordered him to kill the Pope, implicating everyone from the Ayatollah Khomeini to the Russian KGB.


President Reagan Was Inches Away From Death

On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. fired six wild shots at President Ronald Reagan. Five missed. Initially, it was believed that Reagan had escaped injury and media outlets reported that the President was not hit. However, as they sped towards the White House, Reagan complained of pain in his rib cage. 

The head of the President's secret service detail, Jerry Parr, made the decision to go instead to George Washington University Hospital. President Reagan entered the hospital, insisting on walking to the emergency room. He suddenly crumpled to one knee and began to experience difficulty breathing.

The first reading of Reagan's blood pressure revealed it was dangerously low. The bullet had stopped only one inch from Reagan's heart and he was bleeding heavily internally. It took 35 minutes to stabilize Reagan. During this surgery, he lost approximately half of his blood supply. He was very, very close to dying.

Reagan left the hospital a week later; it would be many years before the media and the American people grasped the seriousness of Reagan's condition during this incident.  


Lewis Powell Fought Everyone He Saw While Trying To Kill Lincoln's Secretary Of State

John Wilkes Booth's assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865 was only one part of a coordinated attack on the political leadership of the American government. As Booth entered the President's box at Ford's theater, Lewis Powell approached the Washington, DC residence of William Seward, the Secretary of State and an outspoken abolitionist. 

The Secretary of State had suffered a serious injury in a carriage accident on April 5, breaking several bones including his jaw. Powell claimed to Seward's butler that he was delivering medicine prescribed by a doctor. The servant was suspicious and told Powell to wait. The physically imposing Powell ignored him and ascended the stairs to the second floor and the home's bedrooms.

After knocking out Seward's son, Frederick, and stabbing an Army sergeant, Powell jumped on the Secretary of State's bed and began stabbing Seward in the face. Seward was wearing a metal brace to help mend his jaw, and this device neutralized most of Powell's efforts. One thrust, however, cut Seward's throat eliciting a great deal of blood. Because it was difficult to see in the darkened room, Powell concluded that he must have killed the politician and began fighting with Seward's other son, Augustus, who stormed into the room.

Powell stabbed Augustus and fled. On the stairway, he was confronted by a State Department messenger who had walked in the open front door. Powell stabbed him as well (it was kind of his thing) and then ran into the street. He eluded capture for three days but was eventually imprisoned, tried, and convicted of conspiracy to murder government officials. He was sentenced to death. Although Seward was seriously injured, he and the other victims of Powell survived the incident.


Two Pistols Were Too Scared Of Andrew Jackson To Fire

On January 30, 1835, an unemployed house painter named Richard Lawrence became the first person to attempt to assassinate the President of the United States. Andrew Jackson was leaving the US Capitol building after attending a funeral for a House member, when Lawrence confronted him, pulling the trigger on a pistol.

Although the percussion cap ignited, the gun misfired. Lawrence then took another pistol out of his pocket (reloading was pretty cumbersome) and shot at Jackson again. That gun, astoundingly, also misfired. Some accounts maintain that Jackson attempted to beat Lawrence with his cane, but most likely the President was rushed from the scene quickly.

The utterly delusional assassin believed himself the King of England. Whether or not Lawrence's mind was damaged by habitual exposure to the chemicals in the paint that he used is not clear, but a jury was quite clear on his sanity. They declared him criminally insane after five minutes and sent him to a mental institution where he died in 1861. When both pistols were tested a hundred years later by the Smithsonian, they both fired on the first attempt. Were the guns somehow aware of Jackson and afraid of his retribution? Probably not, but who can say? Jackson himself chose to believe that it was divine intervention.   


No One Was Charged For Shooting Bob Marley

On December 3, 1976, three gunman broke into Bob Marley's residential compound in Kingston, Jamaica. They shot at Marley's wife as they snuck in through the front gate, wounding her in the scalp before storming into the rehearsal area where Bob Marley and his band were rehearsing. They shot wildly at the occupants. Marley narrowly avoided a shot in the chest when his manager, Don Taylor, pushed him to the ground at the last second. The bullet, however, still pierced Marley's arm.

Marley had gotten caught up in the violent political environment surrounding Prime Minister Michael Manley and his rival, Edward Seaga. Marley was scheduled to play a free concert (organized by the government) but was warned not to play, lest his participation indicate support for Manley. Other, more sinister, motivations involving American interests and hostility towards Manley (perceived as a radical and potential communist) have also been floated.

All of the wounded, including Bob Marley, recovered. The performer appeared at the festival as scheduled two days later. However, he subsequently left Jamaica for two years, settling in London. No one was ever prosecuted for the shooting and the bullet remained in Marley's arm for the rest of his life. 


Margaret Thatcher Was Nearly Blown Up By A Bomb In A VCR

In 1984, following the death of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, the IRA became determined to strike at the very heart of the English government by attempting to assassinate Margaret Thatcher herself. Aware that Thatcher would attend the Annual Conservative Party Conference, the IRA began to plan.

Three weeks before the event, an IRA bomb maker named Jerry Magee checked into the Grand Hotel in Brighton, England, under an assumed name and placed a bomb in Room 629. Using electronic parts from a VCR, he set the bomb to explode more than three weeks later, October 11, at 2:53 AM on the morning of the last day of the conference.

See, the party leader gives a speech on the final day of the event, so the IRA was reasonably assured that Thatcher would be present. The explosive was supposed to be strong enough to collapse the whole building, killing everyone inside. The bomb did blow up on schedule, but it only killed five people and injured thirty others. Thatcher herself narrowly avoided a collapsing chimney column only a few feet away from her room. 

Magee's fingerprints were still on his check-in card and he was arrested. Given eight life sentences and a minimum of 35 years in jail, he was released as a result of the Good Friday Agreement prisoner exchange in 1999. 


Harry Truman Slept Through Most Of An Attack By Puerto Rican Nationalists

When it was decided during Harry Truman's administration that the White House would be renovated, Truman moved to a temporary residence at Blair House, then the official home of the Vice President. Accompanied only by a couple of Secret Servicemen and even pausing for red lights, Truman used to walk a half block on a public street to work at his executive office. Things were different in 1950.

On November 1, 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalist gunmen attempted to shoot their way into Blair House in an attempt on Truman's life. Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, both native born Puerto Ricans, were coordinating their attack with uprisings occurring on their home island. While Truman was taking a post-lunch nap in a second story bedroom, the gunmen approached the steps of the building and began firing at White House Police officers and Secret Servicemen.

Collazo got as far as the front steps before being seriously wounded. Torresola wounded several members of law enforcement before the (already mortally wounded) police officer Leslie Coffelt emerged from his guard shack in the front of the building and shot Torresola in the head, killing him instantly. Coffelt would die in the hospital four hours later.

Hearing the commotion, President Truman actually opened the second floor window directly over the entrance, only to be warned by the Secret Service to get back as Torresola was reloading his weapon. Collazo would be sentenced to death, and Truman would later commute the sentence to life in prison. Jimmy Carter commuted Collazo's sentence in 1979 and he returned to Puerto Rico.  



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Fri, 16 Dec 2016 02:56:09 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/bizarre-assassination-attempts/philgibbons
<![CDATA[How The Affair Of The Poisons Uncovered A Network of Witchcraft]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-le-voisin-and-the-affair-of-the-poisons/jen-jeffers

Witch. That title became an accusation throughout history, as it was used to execute almost half a million people in Europe and the United States alone since the year 1200. In reality, most of these victims - mainly women - were victims of fear-based conspiracies. They weren't agents of the devil, merely social outcasts or healers with unusual knowledge.

But in 17th century France, whispers of witches threatened the very reign of King Louis XIV himself. In a case that came to be known as the Affair of the Poisons, authorities uncovered a network of women with tremendous influence. They could seemingly employ dark magic and subtle poisons to control life at the French court. During a time when greedy, elaborately dressed nobles were accustomed to having their own way at any cost, there lived a legendary witch named La Voisin, whose dark talents threatened the most powerful figures in Versailles and French society at large.

Read on to learn more about this mysterious figure and her scandalous story.


How The Affair Of The Poisons Uncovered A Network of Witchcraft,

The King's Mistress Regularly Consulted La Voisin

As the story goes, Madame de Montespan first became acquainted with La Voisin when she was seeking to win the King's love. Up until that point, he had not paid her much attention, and she was eager to catch his eye. She had hired the sorceress to arrange a black mass that would ensure her wish, an action that seemed to have procured the desired effect. Indeed, Louis XIV had fallen in love with her that same year, and as a result, de Montespan trusted in La Voisin implicitly.

But in 1679, things began to go downhill for both de Montespan and La Voisin when the mercurial King's love shifted to a new woman. A powerful elixir was created to capture the King's attention once again, but it didn't work - and de Montespan was furious.

Historians disagree on exactly what happened at this point. Some say de Montespan ran right to La Voisin and demanded she bring about the death of the King and his new lover. Others say de Montespan has never been implicated in such a deed. But according to the testimony given in trial, La Voisin created a special poison for the King and delivered it to his court personally. Apparently, she wasn't able to get close enough to the King to administer the potion.


Spells Were Cast For An Influential Clientele

La Voisin provided many things to the great the Madames of Paris. She claimed she could invite fortune and power through her spells, create aphrodisiacs, and design lethal potions to torture and destroy enemies. She was best known for her religious black masses, where participants could secretly pursue their wishes with the approval of the Devil.

And her clientele weren't just anybody - they were notable courtesans and affluent society types. One in particular, Madame de Montespan, was even the King's main squeeze.


Children Began Disappearing

Paris was a frightening place during the Affair of the Poisons, as children began to disappear in the night and were reportedly sold to the highest bidder for dark purposes. La Voisin herself was said to be a frequent purchaser of children, and even forced her daughter to run off when she became pregnant with the neighbor's child. Just like a dark fairy tale, there were whispers of witches roaming the streets of Paris, snatching children away.

When La Voisin was executed, her daughter confessed these stories to the tribunal in return for her life, although no actual bones of children were ever discovered on La Voisin's property.


The Accused Were Arrested And Tortured

Marie Bosse was not just an accused witch, she was also the arch-nemesis of La Voisin. In fact, La Bosse gave up La Voisin before the torture even began. La Voisin was arrested outside Notre-Dame after hearing mass and never had the chance to perfect her murderous plot against Louis XIV.

She was imprisoned at Vincennes where she was subjected to intense questioning. Some say La Voisin was not tortured because they feared she would implicate the King's inner circle. Others claim she was subjected to three days of excruciating "persuasion," during which her legs were crushed.


La Voisin Became A Sorceress

La Voisin began entertaining clients by reading omens and astrological charts, and performing other mystical services. She quickly departed from the medical world and entered the occult, and was rumored to use ingredients like animal bones, metal shavings, and blood in her powders and potions.

Paris's upper crust had a need for such witchy skills, as most influential people were looking to push their own romantic, political, or social agenda. Everyone wanted power, love, and beauty, and La Voisin promised them all of the above. Her practice began to take off, becoming quite lucrative in the process - until it all began to unravel.


Catherine Deshayes Became La Voisin

In the late 17th century, any a fine Parisian woman hoping to get rid of her enemy or pique her lover's interest could turn to a woman named Catherine Deshayes to help them with their predicament. Her husband had fallen on hard times, and it was up to her to provide for her family. She had no real skills other than her light medical knowledge and ability to read palms, but she was savvy. Her work soon expanded to include midwifery services and even illegal abortions. The ability to tell fortunes she had learned as a child also became useful when advising young women on what to do next. 

Soon dubbed "La Voisin" by her admirers, this woman soon began marketing herself as an agent of the dark arts. She was even rumored to have spent a small fortune on a custom-made ermine-lined velvet robe embroidered with 200 eagles in gold thread. Her loyal following began to grow as her name became synonymous with making dreams come true.


Nobles Participated In Black Masses

To the public, one of the most appalling elements of the Affair of the Poisons were the stories of the black masses La Voisin supposedly conducted in secret. With the help of the nefarious fallen priest Abbé Guilborg, La Voisin held rituals of the occult in her high-walled home or a nearby church.

During the rite, a supplicant would appear naked and lie down on a black slab. A burning candle would then be placed in both of her hands and an empty chalice set on her chest. The priest would kiss her naked body and begin to pray over her with a book made of human skin. He would bless her with urine instead of holy water, and when the ceremony came to a certain point, he would puncture the throat of a baby so the blood spilled into the cup. The blood was mixed with some nasty ingredients to create a dark host to consecrate the moment.


A Hidden Network Of Witches Was Exposed

When Madame de Brinvilliers was brought to trial, the shadowy network of La Voisin began to fall apart. De Brinvilliers had apparently used a poison appropriately known as "inheritance powder" to rid herself of her father and two brothers, and even though her plan was successful, it drew the scrutiny of the law. Her crime was eventually uncovered and with it, a secret stash of incriminating letters and diary entries. After sustaining the dreaded water cure torture - being forced to drink huge quantities of water - she confessed to her dark deeds and was beheaded and burned at the stake. 

Her death shocked France and horrified King Louis XIV, who was always slightly fearful of being "offed" himself by jealous courtesans or scorned mistresses. The resulting tribunal he ordered seemed certain to uncover La Voisin's business. All the practitioners in La Voisin's dark underworld knew each other, and it wouldn't be long before someone else was exposed. But La Voisin was far from ready to give up her dark arts.


The Witches Began To Fall

A fortune-teller by the name of Magdelaine de La Grange was one of the first women to offer incrimination evidence in the Affair of the Poisons. She appealed for her life, claiming she had valuable information about other notable crimes in the area. She promised to help the investigators root out the poisoners and gave them the name of another sorceress, Marie Bosse. Once her part in the process was over, however, the trial against her was allowed to continue - and she was hanged just four days after her conviction for murder and forgery.

Marie Bosse was the next major witch to fall. While drunk at a party one night, Bosse began to freely boast about the wealth she had gained selling poison to willing aristocrats. A lawyer at the party overheard her and went straight to the police, who then tricked her into selling poison to a spy. "La Bosse" was arrested and tortured, and finally confessed to having sold the poison used in a murder attempt. She was condemned to death by burning along with her three children and known associates.


Greed Created A Market For Witches

The Affair of the Poisons lasted from 1677-1682. This major scandal started fairly small, when the aristocratic Madame de Brinvilliers was arrested in 1675 for poisoning members of her family for personal gain. She was tortured and executed, but questions lingered. What about other suspicious deaths that had occurred? And what if other nobles were at risk of being poisoned?

An inquiry into these crimes was opened at the request of King Louis XIV. The authorities soon discovered that common people and the bourgeois alike had been secretly seeking out spells, black masses, drugs, and poisons to further their own aspirations. Accusations of sorcery and poisoning soon erupted, rocking the foundations of French society.



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Mon, 06 Feb 2017 03:17:03 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-le-voisin-and-the-affair-of-the-poisons/jen-jeffers
<![CDATA[26 Intimidating World Leaders Who You Never Realized Were Super Short]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/shortest-world-leaders-from-history/katia-kleyman

While they may tower over peoples' daily lives, many world leaders actually come up a bit short when it comes to height. In fact, throughout history many powerful leaders fell on the punier side, some not even making it to five feet! These super short historical figures still made a big impact on the world, and not always in a good way. One of the shortest leaders on this list was responsible for the death of about 20 million people. Do you think it’s because he had a Napoleon complex? Fun fact: Napoleon Bonaparte is actually tied for the tallest of these short world leaders.

Some psychologists claim that short people in positions of power tend to perceive themselves as being taller. A lot of these short leaders also employ tricks to make themselves seem taller to the public, like manipulating camera angles and wearing platform shoes. You’ll be really surprised at how short some of these leaders are (or were), because you probably expected them to be giants with all that power in their hands.


26 Intimidating World Leaders Who You Never Realized Were Super Short,

Benito Juárez

Benito Juarez may very well have been the shortest world leader in history. This guy was a full four inches shorter than Danny DeVito!


Cleopatra

In today’s world, tall and slender are considered to be standards of beauty. But this compact queen was the epitome of beauty back in her day. Who said short can’t be sexy?


David Ben-Gurion

David Ben-Gurion was the first (and the shortest) prime minister of Israel.


Deng Xiaoping

Did you know that if Deng Xiaoping was alive today he wouldn't even be able to get a job as a waiter in China because of his height?


Engelbert Dollfuss

Engelbert Dollfuss was the opposite of an Aryan ideal. Maybe that’s why the Nazis assassinated this Austrian politician in an attempted coup d’état. But it took 10 Nazis to take out this little powerhouse.  


Joan of Arc

Could Joan of Arc be the tiniest female saint in history?


Kim Jong-il

Well, he’s 5’3’’ minus the heels and teased hairstyle. By the way, if you lived in North Korea and made any snide remark about any of the aforementioned things, you can say goodbye to your entire family.


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former president of Iran, would probably deny he's short, the same way he denies the Holocaust.


Queen Victoria

Some claim by the end of her life Queen Victoria’s waist grew so much that she was almost as wide horizontally as she was tall vertically.


Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat gains a couple more inches in height thanks to his headscarf.



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Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:30:27 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/shortest-world-leaders-from-history/katia-kleyman
<![CDATA[Inside The Brutal Realities of the Spanish Flu That Killed 100 Million People]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/grim-spanish-influenza-facts/christopher-myers

Of all the horrors of World War I, it wasn't the bombs, bullets, or even the mustard gas that ended up as the greatest killer. In reality, the act of moving that many people around the world turned out to be the most deadly fruit of war. The last year of the war, 1918, saw the most deadly pandemic the world has ever known. With all those millions of soldiers being shipped around the globe, it spread like wildfire. This was the Spanish influenza pandemic. In terms of sheer numbers killed, the Spanish influenza beats out the Black Death as the king of historical epidemics. The statistics of the Spanish flu are just brutal, and the disease touched every corner of the globe. It ranks as one of the worst diseases in history, a reminder of how deadly influenza can really be.


Inside The Brutal Realities of the Spanish Flu That Killed 100 Million People,

The Second Wave Of The Flu Was Much Deadlier Than The First

By the end of the summer, the first wave of the flu was starting to die down. People who hadn't been tagged by the disease undoubtedly felt pretty good about themselves, having dodged that bullet. Then the second wave of the pandemic hit.

It began at a naval facility in Boston in September of 1918, and it pretty much wrecked everyone. Around this same time, the flu hit the port towns of Brest, France, and Freetown, Sierra Leone. It was at this point that the situation escalated from standard pandemic to full-blown crisis of biblical proportions.

In the month of October, 195,000 Americans died from the flu. The death rate during the second wave was a full five-times higher than that of the first. The "lucky" ones who escaped the first wave were much more likely to catch the second wave and subsequently die from it. With such high communicability and mortality rates, things quickly got out of hand.


Even Remote Villages Were Not Immune To The Disease

It wasn't only the large population centers that suffered from outbreaks of the Spanish flu. Even Inuit villages in Alaska suffered from outbreaks of the disease. In some cases, entire villages were completely wiped out from the disease. In other cases, all the adults were killed, leaving only orphans behind to fend for themselves.

One such infected village was the small, Inuit town of Brevig Mission, Alaska. The disease claimed the lives of 90% of the town's Inuit population. It was so bad that the Alaskan Territorial government had to pay gold miners from Nome to go up and bury the bodies. When the miners arrived, they tossed the bodies into a pit two meters deep and covered it with permafrost.


The Pandemic Killed 5% Of The World's Population

The Spanish influenza pandemic killed people on the scale of the fourth rider of the Apocalypse. It is estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide between 1918 and 1919 alone. To put that into perspective, the four years of WWI only killed 17 million people total. Just in the US, over half a million people were killed by the flu, five times as many Americans as were killed in the war.

The flu infected (but didn't necessarily kill) even more: about 1/3 of the world's population was believed to have been infected by some form of the Spanish flu. That's 500 million people at a time when there were only about 1.5 billion people on the entire planet.


Spain Was The First Country To Announce The Epidemic

Though Spain was not the first place to be stricken with the illness, it was the first country to openly report it. That is because it was the first country that was not actively involved in WWI to experience the flu's incredibly high mortality rate. Where other countries (including the US) censored the news for fear of damaging "public morale," Spain reported on the outbreak freely, which is how the infamous influenza gained the name Spanish flu.


The First Recorded Outbreak Occured In Kansas

Like college basketball champions and the world's supply of corn, the Spanish flu seems to have come from unassuming Kansas. While the state boasts many fine and comfortable establishments, Fort Riley was not one of them. In 1918, the army camp housed 26,000 men and was described as bone-chilling in the winter and sweltering in the summer. Oh yeah, and they burned tons of manure from the many horses and donkeys on the base, so it probably always smelled like a paper mill.

On March 9, conditions at the base got a lot worse. The cook, Albert Gitchell, reported to the infirmary with a bad cold. By noon, there were over 100 soldiers in the infirmary, apparently suffering from the same malady. In total, 1,127 soldiers came down with the flu, 46 of whom died.

The condition spread to other camps but, given that war was declared, the brass kept a tight grip on the information. Besides, an outbreak of illness among a bunch of men closely quartered in less than ideal living conditions was hardly that unusual.


The Disease Targeted Young Adults

The normal victims of the flu are typically babies and really, really old people - like, spare hip, dinner at 4:00 pm kind of old. When a 50 year old dies of the flu, it's a pretty big deal. And a 25-year-old gym rat might think of the flu as a crummy week or two in bed, but the term "life threatening" wouldn't even come to mind. The Spanish flu turned all that on its head. Young, healthy guys would get home from work one day feeling a little sluggish, and then get carried off in a body bag the next morning. Suffice it to say, that freaked a lot of people out.

Unlike normal flu viruses, Spanish influenza seemed to target those between 20 and 35. The reason for this is that people born after 1889 had no exposure to anything similar to the 1918 virus strain. Those born before that date had some exposure to a similar flu strain; therefore, they had some immunity. That discovery didn't come until 2014, though, so people at the time were left guessing why Johnny-six-pack next door just dropped dead while Aunt Gertrude was still going strong.


The Flu Traveled To Europe With American Soldiers

In March of 1918, 84,000 American soldiers were shipped off to Europe. In April, another 118,000 crossed the pond. Along with them, the soldiers brought a chance at victory for the Allied Powers. That, and also the deadly influenza virus.

Imagine that you've been living in a muddy trench for the past three years, dodging bullets, ducking artillery, and chasing off rats. Somehow, you are still alive. Finally, some serious reinforcements are coming in, and things are looking up. Then, out of the blue, you catch the worst flu you could possibly imagine. Before you know it, you are lying on an army cot jammed next to a bunch of fellow flu victims, dying in a state of complete delirium because of your high-grade fever.

In the month of June, 31,000 influenza cases were reported in Great Britain. The virus rapidly spread across enemy lines and beyond into Russia, India, and North Africa. By July, the disease had spread across the Pacific to China, Japan, the Philippines, and New Zealand.


They Couldn't Bury The Bodies Fast Enough

The world's worst day is the undertaker's best day, but the booming coffin industry simply could not keep up with the staggering rate of death caused by the Spanish influenza. We're talking tens of thousands of people dying in a matter of a month or two...  in just about every big city around the world. To prevent the infectious bodies that were slowly rotting in the morgue corridors from causing secondary infections, many places restored to digging mass graves.

In 2015, a mass grave was rediscovered in Pennsylvania. Located around 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the bodies were uncovered after a heavy rain washed away the topsoil near a highway embankment. There were no coffins, just human bones jutting up from the soil.


The War Had Created A Shortage Of Medical Staff

Many of the trained medical personnel at the time the Spanish influenza struck had already joined up with the military to help the war effort. Even before America entered the war, many doctors and nurses volunteered to serve in field hospitals through the Red Cross. So when the flu hit, a great deal of those medical resources were tied up in the trenches of Europe.

As a result, many of those tending for the sick at home were volunteers. They had varying degrees of experience in medicine, from retired doctors pulled back into service to medical students who were still in training.

In some cases, women whose only medical experience was tending to their families found themselves nursing for entire communities. These volunteers risked and sometimes gave their lives caring for the infectious sick. In many cases, their care was the difference between life and death for flu victims.


Symptoms Included Turning Blue And Bleeding Internally

Catching Spanish influenza was not fun. Initial symptoms were similar to normal influenza (fatigue, fever, and headache) but more severe. When the coughing and sneezing set in, things started to get really nasty. People would cough with such force that their abdominal muscles tore.

The flu was so virulent that it would cause internal bleeding around the lungs. People would bleed from their mouths, noses, and sometimes ears. People's skin would actually turn blue, to the point where it was hard to identify their initial skin color. With all that damage to the lungs, pneumonia set in pretty quickly. People would usually die within a day or two of developing their first symptoms, sometimes mere hours after figuring out they were sick.



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Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:40:03 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/grim-spanish-influenza-facts/christopher-myers
<![CDATA[Heartbreaking Facts About Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-joseph-merrick-the-elephant-man/harrison-tenpas

Joseph Merrick was born on August 5, 1862 in Leicester, England. When he was about five years old, he began developing signs of an abnormal disorder where large growths appeared on his bones and skin. By the time he reached adulthood, the circumference of Merrick's head was roughly 3 feet, with growths disfiguring his face and jaw, rendering him nearly unable to communicate. 

At the age of 21, Merrick fled the workhouse he had been forced to live in due to his disability, and he took up with a traveling human oddity exhibit, joining the ranks of other famous "freakshow" performers and becoming known as "The Elephant Man." When the public interest in freak shows waned in England, he was forced to spend the remainder of his days living in a London hospital. Merrick died in April of 1890 due to complications from his condition. He was just 27 years old.

Thought to have suffered from an extremely rare congenital disorder called Proteus syndrome (also known as Wiedemann syndrome), Merrick is one of the most famous medical oddities in recent history. Though he lived much of his short life on display like a soulless object, Merrick was very human, and outside of his disfigurement, his life was also filled with tragedy. This list explores the most heartbreaking facts about Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man.


Heartbreaking Facts About Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man,

He Spent His Final Years In The Hospital

When Merrick returned to England, he was mobbed by awed spectators upon arrival. Dispersing the gawking crowds, police came to his aide but found him to be panicked and unintelligible, his condition making it nearly impossible for him to speak at this point. 

There was a card in Merrick's coat belonging to a Frederick Treves - a surgeon who had met Merrick during his previous time in London - so police, unsure what else to do, contacted the man. Treves took Merrick into his hospital in the Whitechapel area of London, cordoning off several rooms for him to live in. Merrick lived the rest of his days there, forging a strong friendship with Treves in the process.


He Was Beaten And Rejected By His Father

After the death of his mother, the road got significantly tougher for the still young Joseph. His father remarried, and Joseph left school at 13 to find work, spending time as a door-to-door salesman with a burlap sack covering his face until growths on his hand rendered him unable to work. At 17, Joseph was expelled from his home by his father, who had severely beaten him for being unable to earn money. 

Forced out onto the streets, the teenaged Merrick was homeless and starving. His uncle briefly took him in, but unable to care for him in his condition, he was soon forced to send his ailing nephew out into the world on his own. 


He Died Wanting To Be Like Everybody Else

Joseph Merrick was discovered dead on April 11, 1890 - at the age of 27 - in his home at the London Hospital. Merrick had to sleep in an upright position with his head - swollen to 3 feet in circumference - resting on his knee, so that the weight would not asphyxiate him as he rested. But that spring morning, it appeared he had deviated from his routine, with his friend and doctor Frederick Treves suggesting that he just tried to lay down "like everybody else," a process which tragically snapped his spinal cord, killing him instantly.


He Was Robbed Of His Life Savings

Though he was paid and treated relatively well in the freak show circuit, Joseph Merrick's professional life would prove short-lived. By the mid-1880s, human oddity exhibits had fallen out of favor with the English public, so Merrick's manager brought him to Belgium in hopes of attracting a larger audience. But Merrick's manager turned on him shortly into the tour, severely beating him and stealing his life savings, before abandoning him in a foreign land. Penniless and destitute, Merrick had to return to England on his own. 


He Had Three Siblings Who All Died Remarkably Young

For Joseph and Mary Jane Merrick, creating a family proved to be a doomed endeavor. Joseph Carey was the first of three of the children born into the family who would die at young ages. His brother William Arthur, was born in January of 1866 and died from scarlet fever in December of 1870 at just four years old. His sister, Marion Eliza, was born in September of 1867, also with physical disabilities - though less severe than those of Joseph himself - and she died of Myelitis-related seizures in 1891.


Even Doctors Looked At Him Like A Human Oddity

After leaving the Leicester Union Workhouse in 1884, Merrick decided to capitalize on his disfigurement by joining a human oddities show. As a part of the Gaiety Palace of Varieties, he became known as “The Elephant Man, Half-Man, Half-Elephant," and he was exhibited in Leicester, Nottingham, and London to much fanfare.

It was during his time in the capital city that he was displayed across the street from the London hospital, where doctors and surgeons would come marvel at his condition - even to trained professionals, he was a mere spectacle.  


He Was Forced To Live In A Workhouse At 17

17 years old and homeless with a rare medical condition, Joseph Merrick had no choice but to seek refuge at the Leicester Union Workhouse. Workhouses at that time were prison-like environments where those considered unemployable performed grueling labor. Merrick was miserable in the Union Workhouse, and he despised his time there. After a few years, his condition worsened and left him unable to perform the tasks given to him, so he left in 1884 to strike out on his own.


When He Was Just 11 Years Old, His Mother Passed Away

In 1873, Joseph's mother died of bronchial pneumonia. He was just 11 years old, and his condition was beginning to worsen. Joseph had a special bond with his mother, who cared for and nurtured him. Merrick would later describe the death of his mother as the “greatest sadness in my life.”

His father would remarry just one year later, but the passing of Merrick's mother marked the end of his life's only loving relationship.


He Was Born A Healthy Child

Joseph Carey Merrick was born to Joseph and Mary Jane Merrick on August 5, 1862 in Leicester England. For the first five years of his life, Joseph was a happy and healthy little boy, completely unaware of the horrific disfigurement that was to come.

It was around the age of five that patches of discolored, lumpy skin began to appear on his body, which his parents actually thought were the result of Mary Jane being scared by a stampeding elephant while she was pregnant. Merrick was able to have a relatively normal childhood and attend school, though his condition worsened significantly as he got older. 


He Wrote His Own Heart-Wrenching Autobiography

Joseph Merrick was considered to be quite intelligent. An avid writer, he even penned his own autobiographical pamphlet, which he distributed to audiences while on exhibit as a human oddity. He also wrote many letters, often thank you notes to care-givers and those who had shown him kindness. Merrick frequently signed his letters with a poem, the poignant "False Greatness" by Isaac Watts:

'Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind's the standard of the man.



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Tue, 07 Mar 2017 04:10:03 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-joseph-merrick-the-elephant-man/harrison-tenpas
<![CDATA[10 Truly Messed Up Facts About Britain's Historical Relationship With Australia]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/britain-australia-messed-up-history-facts/aaron-edwards

Australia may seem idyllic, but its past is rooted in bloody colonialism at its worst. Britain and Australia's fraught relationship can be traced in the soil of the continent. What would become a massive country started as a colony of exiles and convicts that were no longer desired in England. Accompanying them were members of the British military, many of them sadistic and violent. The eventual founders of Australia lived in harsh conditions, battling hunger and the elements, and inflicting atrocities on the indigenous population.

The British presence in Australia had a high capacity for cruelty. Whether it was toward the convicts, native Australians, or each other, many members of the military could make life horrific for others. This led to rebellions, escape attempts, and even political coups. But the most grave injustices were the massacres against Aboriginal Australians who originally inhabited the continent. They're some of the most brutal British Empire stories of all time.

Keep reading to learn more about Australia's violent history and Britain's dark past.


10 Truly Messed Up Facts About Britain's Historical Relationship With Australia,

Terrible Relations With Aboriginal Australians Led To Massacres

As the European settlers of Australia explored deeper into the continent, they encountered the Aborigines. The settlers disrupted the ecosystem and violated native land, quickly souring relationships with the native population. The Aborigines tried to fight back against the invaders, but their efforts were in vain: the British settlers murdered them with superior weapons.

The terrible damage inflicted by the settlers didn't stop there. Over the next 100 years, 20,000 indigenous people were killed from a combination of violence, smallpox, and forced relocation.


Aboriginal Australians Were Used As Slaves

After the American Civil War deprived the world of a steady cotton supply, cotton plantations were started in southern Queensland and sugar plantations were founded in the northeast. Aboriginal Australians were frequently removed from their homes to work these plantations, under the pretext of protection provided by the government. However, the "free" Aborigines never received their full wages - if they received any wages at all. They were also subject to violence, abuse, and horrific working conditions.

Slavery was officially abolished in Australia in 1901 - the same year it became a Commonwealth.


English Settlers Tortured Convicts For Entertainment

Many of the British soldiers who made the voyage to Australia seemingly had a sadistic streak. Floggings were supposed to be used on convicts as a punishment for misconduct or refusing to work, but they quickly grew in popularity.

Convicts would often be flogged with a short whip until they confessed to crimes or gave important information. These whips were made of strands of knotted leather, which would split the skin of the back and sometimes even expose bone. Some convicts died as a result of the beatings. As gruesome as the spectacle was, these punishments were frequently carried out in public, and settlers would watch for entertainment.


British Troops Imposed Martial Law

The officers of the New South Wales Corps involved themselves in the rum trade, much to their benefit. The rum business became so lucrative, in fact, that the unit gained the nickname “The Rum Corps.” The power and wealth the officers amassed often led them to clash with the England-appointed governors.

Tensions eventually reached a boiling point when Governor Bligh took an officer, John Macarthur, to trial after an incident with one of his trading ships. The Corps refused to recognize the court and Governor Bligh charged them with treason. The Rum Corps then marched into the governor’s home and arrested him while proclaiming martial law. Eventually, a new English governor was installed, but was smart enough to clear the Corps of any wrongdoing.


Convicts Attempted Escapes

Mary Bryant had been convicted for theft, and was transported to Australia. She gave birth to a daughter during the journey and married another convict soon after reaching the mainland. Just after the couple had a son together, food became scarce at the colony. Conditions were so dire that Mary and her husband staged an escape by stealing the Governor’s boat and made for a Dutch colony to the north. The Dutch, however, discovered their status as criminals. Her husband was killed by an illness, but Mary and her daughter were sent back to England. Her daughter died during the voyage.

In England, Mary became a celebrity while awaiting trial and was eventually pardoned. 


There Were Bloody Rebellions Against British Rule

With so many convicts and military personnel in the same place, an armed conflict was bound to happen. The Irish prisoners, still reeling from the Irish Rebellion in England, organized a resistance with the goal of escaping captivity. Their initial force of 200 men quickly grew after they attacked nearby settlements. The New South Wales Corps responded with force, cornering them. Major Johnston of the corps pointed a pistol at one of the rebel leaders and told him he would “blow his soul to hell” before attacking.

The event became known as the Castle Hill Rebellion, or the Second Battle of Vinegar Hill, in reference to the earlier Irish Rebellion. In all, nine rebels were killed, 30 were exiled, and the rest were flogged.


Female Convicts Were Often Forced Into Prostitution

Female convicts were treated no better than their male counterparts, and in some cases much worse. Most of them were convicted for petty theft and exiled from England for at least seven years. Once they reached Australia, their options for survival were limited, but they usually included indentured work like the men. Many also became wives and mistresses to the men in the camp, but the combination of military men and convicts created an environment where women were frequently abused. For a number of these women, prostitution was the only way they could earn a living.


Australians Refer To English People As "Prisoners of the Motherland"

Australians haven't forgotten that their country was used as a penal colony - in fact, that history has made its way into local slang. A British citizen visiting Australia might be referred to as a POM: "Prisoner of the Motherland." It’s a dark little in-joke between Australians, as they’re the ones who got their freedom from England in the end.


Australia Started As England’s Penal Colony

The prevailing belief in 18th century England was that criminals could not be rehabilitiated, and had to remain separate from the rest of society. But the prisons were becoming overcrowded. So, in 1788, the country shipped the first of about 50,000 criminals with sentences of seven years or more to Australia. The 736 convicts were sent under the rule of Captain Arthur Phillip, and after landing in Botany Bay, they began a settlement that would become a major country.


The Convicts Did Hard Labor For English Settlers

Convicts were usually assigned to work under free English settlers for the remainder of their sentence. That work typically included extremely hard labor. Once the convict had served their time, they were considered free. They could return to England or remain in Australia and take servants of their own.



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Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:21:44 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/britain-australia-messed-up-history-facts/aaron-edwards
<![CDATA[9 Laughably Unscientific Historical Theories Attempting To Explain The Universe]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-theories-about-space/machk

For as long as humans have been able to communicate, they have been trying to figure out exactly what is going on "up there." This has resulted in a lot of interesting, but pretty inaccurate and outmoded, theories about space throughout history. These outdated beliefs about space, which attempt to explain just how the Earth is interacting with the cosmos, are surprisingly varied, and some of the weirdest aren't as old as you might think. In fact, some of them are still believed in remote parts of the world. We may have a much better idea of the makeup of the universe now, but some of these old-fashioned attempts at astronomy are cooler than the truth.


9 Laughably Unscientific Historical Theories Attempting To Explain The Universe,

The Square Inside A Circle Concept of 'Canopy Heaven'

There were many conflicting theories about the cosmos in Ancient China. One popular theory was known as "gaitian," or "Canopy Heaven." Named after the round-roofed style of chariots at the time, those who aligned themselves with this proposed theory believed that the Earth was a cube, surrounded by the spherical heavens. It is believed that this theory inspired the common Chinese iconography of a square within a circle.


Earth Is An Island In The Watery Universe

Way back in the 8th century BCE, the pervading belief among the archaic Greeks was that the Earth was a domed island surrounded by a primordial river called "Ocean." In this mode of thought, Ocean was like a vast outer rim that formed a shield-like structure for the Earth. The waters beyond the Ocean that they could see were, to the archaic Greeks, essentially infinite, and they feared this unknown, limitless expanse.


A Luminiferous Aether Fills The Cosmic Void

In the late 19th century, the concept of a "Luminiferous Aether" became quite popular. At the time, scientists were unable to explain how light waves could travel through voids because of the understanding of waves at the time. Newton, in particular, found it inconceivable that bodies in space could move and act upon one another without any physical substance connecting them; that would've run in the face of scientific explanations for action, reaction, and moving bodies. Thus, scientists postulated that the universe was filled with some kind of invisible substance through which light, electricity, and magnetism traveled, and this infinite material channeled but did not interact with the physical universe. They called this substance "Luminiferous Aether." This theory became less and less prevalent as scientific understanding of light waves improved and people got tired of trying to prove something that they could not see.


The Cosmos Is Surrounded By A Vast Void

Ancient Greek philosophers and astronomers had many incredibly complex theories about space. Most of them dealt with the question of whether or not the universe was finite. If the universe ended, that meant that there was nothingness outside of it, a complete void. This concept of an Earth and Heavens surrounded by a void was quite popular. The Stoic philosophers, however, believed that the universe was one pulsing, cyclical being, and therefore could not have voids within it, just as humans cannot have voids within them. They believed that there was a kind of "breath" or tension holding the cosmos together, and an empty void would tear it apart.


The Milky Way River Separates Heaven And Earth

Some cultures see the stars as Earth-like natural structures, separating the two worlds of Heaven and Earth. The Misminay people of the Andes see the Milky Way as an actual river in the sky, feeding water between the Heavenly and Earthly spheres. Because of their location, the Milky Way crosses over the village twice in one day, quartering it, which further indicates the divine utility of the structure.


The Constellations That Produce Earthly Effects

Some cosmic patterns are regional, and specific cultures and places have unique ways of understanding those patterns. Many Native societies, for example, see direct linkages between cosmic patterns and natural phenomena on Earth. For their part, the Barasana people of the Amazon have named a group of stars the "Caterpillar Jaguar." As this constellation rises in the sky, they believe that the number of caterpillars on Earth rises to meet this father caterpillar. In reality, this is a coincidence, due to the rotation of the Earth and the seasonal needs and development patterns of caterpillars.


A Scarab Beetle Rolls The Earth In The Watery Sky

The Ancient Egyptians' view of space had something in common with Hildegard von Bingen's fiery, cosmic egg theory: the idea that the world is surrounded by a layer of water. This "eternal water" was the habitation of the goddess Nut, and, beneath the Earth, a parallel netherworld known as Duat, home to both the good and the cursed, existed. In addition to this set up, the Egyptians attached a special significance to the dung beetle. They saw the dung balls from which young beetles emerged as representative of the always shifting and spherical sun and felt that the seemingly spontaneous birth of these scarabs was like that of the first God, Atum. But the importance of the dung beetle went beyond allegory; they also believed that Earth itself was being rolled by a giant, invisible dung beetle, which explained the changes in the sky at night. At least they got the rotation part right.


Space Is A Fiery, Cosmic Egg

Hildegard von Bingen was one of the most industrious people of the Middle Ages, period. She was a Benedictine abbess who is often credited as being the founder of natural history in Germany. She was also a writer, composer, philosopher, and receiver of religious visions. For all of her innovating, Pope Benedict XVI named her a Doctor of the Catholic Church in 2012. She proposed that the cosmos were arranged into a fiery cosmic egg. It sounds pretty scary, but Hildegard saw it is a reflection of God's vision - the egg of the cosmos followed a divine patterning. The outermost layer of the egg is fire, representing purification and judgement; the next layer is ethereal firmament, which signifies faith; the next is water, the element for baptism; and finally, there's the Earth itself, which is made up of four elements.


The Dome That Separates The Waters Of Earth From The Waters Of Heaven

There are many references to the structure of the cosmos in the Old Testament. The Hebrews imagined the universe as a dome structure, with a metal firmament separating the waters of Heaven from the Earthly sphere. In this conception, Earth itself rests on primeval waters, held up by pillars. The idea of the cosmos as water was one that could be found all over the ancient world at the time.



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Tue, 15 Nov 2016 03:29:28 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-theories-about-space/machk
<![CDATA[What Happened Immediately After JFK Was Assassinated?]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/events-directly-after-jfk-assassination/philgibbons

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Arguably the crime of the century, Kennedy's murder stunned the American people and set off an outpouring of grief around the world. But the days after JFK's assassination also involved additionally shocking events and dramatic moments.

In the immediate aftermath of the JFK assassination, Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, would be shot to death live on American television. Oswald's background as a former resident of the Soviet Union, his Russian wife, and connections to communist Cuba would add a cold war component to the assassination. The sketchy background of Oswald's assassin, Jack Ruby, would also quickly foment numerous conspiracy theories that became an integral part of any future discussion of JFK's assassination. What happened following the assassination of John F. Kennedy - arguably one of the world's most important leaders -  had historical, political, and social implications that still reverberate today.  


What Happened Immediately After JFK Was Assassinated?,

J. Edgar Hoover Calls RFK With A Spooky Message

Robert "Bobby" F. Kennedy - the President's brother - was having a private lunch with members of JFK's administration at his home in suburban Virginia when his wife answered the telephone. On the phone was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover, without emotion and only 15 minutes after the shooting, transmitted an ominous message. "I have news for you. The President's been shot." When Bobby asked how seriously injured the President was, Hoover replied, "I think it is serious. I am endeavoring to get details. I'll call you back when I find out more." Then Hoover hung up. To say there was no love lost between Hoover and RFK would be a major understatement. Both Kennedys wanted to get rid of Hoover, but his scandalous and embarrassing files on JFK's love life forced them to retain him. Hoover clearly relished calling Bobby Kennedy, to deliver such a disturbing, painful message and he did so with no emotion of any kind.     


Jackie Kennedy Arrived In DC Still Wearing Her Blood Spattered Outfit

From the moment the news of the assassination was broadcast, every radio and television station broadcast nothing but continual news concerning the incident for four days. At approximately 6:00 pm EST, Air Force One arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland containing President Johnson, the body of John F. Kennedy, and the Kennedy entourage. The nation watched live as President Kennedy's coffin was unloaded and placed into an ambulance, Jackie Kennedy then emerged with Robert Kennedy, who had boarded the plane upon its arrival. President Johnson appeared next and made some brief remarks to the nation. Jackie Kennedy was still deliberately wearing the bright pink outfit she had worn all day, the dried blood of her husband clearly visible on the front of her skirt. She had been asked earlier if she wanted to change into something else but she replied "Oh, no, I want them to see what they have done to Jack." The outfit was donated to the National Archives by Jackie Kennedy, but is restricted from public view until 2103 by request of JFK and Jackie's daughter Caroline Kennedy. It is currently stored in a secret, sealed, and climate controlled location within the National Archives. Jackie's iconic pillbox hat disappeared at some point on November 22 and its current whereabouts are unknown.  


After JFK Was Pronounced Dead A Legal Fight Over His Body Ensued

The President's limousine arrived at Parkland Hospital at 12:38 pm CST. He was rushed into Trauma Room No. 1 just as Chief Resident Ronald Jones arrived with several other doctors. The doctors performed a tracheotomy, inserted an IV in the President's arm, and performed chest massage. Upon examining Kennedy's skull wound, it was readily apparent their efforts were superfluous, and an EKG showed no heart activity. No official announcement was made until a priest administered the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. Twelve minutes after JFK entered the trauma room, he was pronounced dead. President Kennedy's body was then wrapped into a hastily acquired coffin and placed on a gurney.

As the President's entourage attempted to leave the trauma room, it was confronted by Earl Rose, the Dallas county medical examiner, who stated emphatically that Texas state law required an autopsy be performed in the county where a crime had occurred. While technically correct, many felt Rose was behaving inappropriately, especially since Mrs. Kennedy refused to leave the hospital or Dallas without her husband. The situation was also complicated by the lack of any federal laws governing the assassination of a president, a situation that has since been rectified. When Rose refused to back down, a heated exchange took place, some claiming that the Secret Service drew their weapons to force Rose to step aside. The Secret Service then hurriedly rushed the casket to the airport at Love Field and quickly loaded it aboard Air Force One, preempting any additional attempt to impose local jurisdiction.  


Oswald Escaped From His Assassination Vantage Point Within 90 Seconds Of Shooting

After firing three bullets at the Kennedy motorcade, Lee Harvey Oswald immediately hid his rifle amidst the stacks of textbook boxes situated on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. He went down a stairwell, and 90 seconds after the shooting he encountered his supervisor and a policeman in a second floor lunchroom. Not under suspicion at the time, he was allowed to pass. Other employees observed him behaving casually and he left the building just as police were attempting to seal off the area, only three minutes after the shooting. He got on a city bus, but because of the traffic caused by the chaotic aftermath of the assassination, he eventually got off and hailed a taxi to take him to his rooming house in the nearby neighborhood of Oak Cliff. Here, he was observed by the building's housekeeper as he went to his room and emerged after only a few minutes, now clad in a jacket and, unbeknownst to her, carrying a pistol. 


Oswald Claimed He Was A Patsy And He Didn't Kill JFK

Once the Texas School Book Depository was sealed off, the police asked the superintendent of the building Roy Truly to assemble all of his employees. It was quickly determined that Lee Harvey Oswald was missing. A rifle was discovered on the sixth floor that Oswald's Russian wife Marina later identified as Oswald's. By the time of Oswald's arrest at the movie theater, police believed he was linked to the assassination but were not certain. A co-worker of Oswald's recognized him at police headquarters after they went to provide an affidavit about the assassination.

Oswald was formally charged with Officer Tippit's death on Friday night. A few hours later at 1:30 am on Saturday, he was arraigned for President Kennedy's death. Oswald's strange background as a Marine sharpshooter, former resident of the Soviet Union, and Marxist agitator only added to the surreal immediate aftermath of JFK's assassination. Throughout his time in the Dallas jail, Oswald adamantly proclaimed his innocence, "The only thing I have done is carry a pistol in a movie … I didn’t kill anybody … I haven’t shot anybody." he said during an impromptu news conference. "I'm just a patsy." These statements would fuel the fire of conspiracy theorists who believe a slew of things, including that Oswald killed JFK as part of a Cuban conspiracy. 


After The Fatal Shot, Jackie Kennedy Attempted To Flee The Limousine

On November 22, 1963, at approximately 12:30 PM, President John F. Kennedy's motorcade proceeded through downtown Dallas's Dealey Plaza. As the President's convertible Lincoln Continental passed in front of the Texas School Book Depository building, three shots were fired at JFK. The first shot penetrated Kennedy in the back of the neck and exited through his throat and most likely would not have been fatal.

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill was riding on the bumper of the follow-up car and immediately ran towards the presidential limousine at the sound of the first shot, attempting to shield the President from additional harm. However before he could reach the President two more shots were fired. It is believed the third shot was the fatal shot, shattering his skull and scattering bone fragments and brain matter throughout the interior and exterior of the automobile.

His wife, Jackie, had put her arms around her husband. After the fatal shot, she reflexively recoiled and began to crawl out of the passenger seat and onto the trunk of the car. Hill was able to grab onto the rear of the trunk as the driver quickly accelerated toward Parkland Hospital. Hill forced Mrs. Kennedy back into the rear of the automobile. Testimony from Mrs. Kennedy to the Warren Commission indicated she had no recollection of attempting to leave the car, Hill testified he thought she was attempting to retrieve a large skull fragment that was on the back of the car. Texas Gov. John Connolly - was also seriously wounded while he sat in the front seat - recalled in the aftermath of the shooting, Jackie Kennedy said repeatedly "They have killed my husband, his brains are on my hands."

In a subsequent interview, Jackie Kennedy said on the way to the hospital she spoke to her husband, "Jack, can you hear me... I love you, Jack." Despite almost being hurled off of the back of the vehicle, Hill made it to the passenger compartment and covered JFK and Jackie Kennedy as the car rapidly approached the hospital. Hill maintained had he been situated on the right bumper of the President's car, he would have had enough time to get to the President before the fatal head wound.   


The President's Body Lay In State, And Public Lines To View Him Were Miles Long

On Sunday, November 24, the flag draped casket of President John F. Kennedy was transported to the rotunda of the US Capitol Building by the same horse drawn caisson that transported the casket of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. It was accompanied by a funeral procession of the Kennedy family, service members, and hundreds of US government dignitaries and world leaders, and was observed by an estimated 1,000,000 spectators. For 24 hours an estimated 250,000 members of the public were allowed to enter the Capitol and pay their respects. At times, this line - in freezing cold temperatures - stretched for more than two miles. When the viewing concluded the next day, many thousands of people were unable to gain access.


Oswald Killed A Policeman, And Was Arrested In A Movie Theater

Upon leaving his rooming house at a few minutes after 1 pm, Lee Harvey Oswald briefly wandered aimlessly in the neighborhood near his home. At approximately 1:15 pm, he reached the intersection of 10th and Patton Streets where a Dallas policeman named JD Tippit observed him from a patrol car. Although Tippit had received a description already circulating of a suspect in the Kennedy assassination, it is impossible to determine whether Tippit connected Oswald to that description. Oswald spoke to Tippit through the window of his car and when the police officer got out of his vehicle and began walking towards him, Oswald quickly drew his pistol and shot him four times, including once in the temple.

The area was quickly overrun by numerous police cars, and Oswald's movements became furtive. He attracted the attention of a shoe store employee who, upon hearing the sirens, decided to follow Oswald. Oswald stopped at a movie theater, walked into the lobby, snuck into the theater. When the shoe store employee, Johnny Brewer, approached and asked a theater employee if Oswald had bought a ticket, she said no. He told her to call police. Police quickly descended upon the theater, the movie was halted, and the house lights were turned up. Patrolman Nick McDonald patted down a few patrons before coming to Oswald. When he asked him to stand, Oswald shouted "It's all over now." He punched the officer with one hand and drew his gun with the other. As officers converged on Oswald, McDonald got his hand on the weapon. He was subdued, handcuffed, and led out of the theater. Outside was an angry crowd already jeering and threatening him, aware that he was connected to the murder of Officer Tippit and possibly even the President.


LBJ Was Sworn In As The New President Immediately After JFK Died

At 2:38 pm CST, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States. The oath of office was administered by Judge Sarah T. Hughes, a federal judge appointed by JFK only months earlier. It was the first and only time that a female administered the oath of office to the President of the United States. Lyndon Johnson ignored the Kennedy entourage's wishes that he fly home on Air Force Two and he insisted that Jackie Kennedy stand next to him while the oath of office was administered, as a sign of Kennedy support for the transition. 


Walter Cronkite Got Emotional Announcing Kennedy's Death

At approximately 2 pm EST, news networks started to preempt regular programming to switch to JFK's assassination. Rumors began sweeping both the local Dallas and national newsrooms that President Kennedy was dead. For 38 minutes Walter Cronkite repeated various unconfirmed reports of Kennedy's death, including a report from Dan Rather who spoke to one of the two priests present at Parkland Hospital who confirmed the President's death. Finally, at 2:38 pm EST, Cronkite was handed an Associated Press news flash that confirmed the President's death. Cronkite was quite friendly with Kennedy and was deeply affected by the announcement, choking up as he read the news. 



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Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:54:35 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/events-directly-after-jfk-assassination/philgibbons
<![CDATA[Tycho Brahe, The Bizarre 16th Century Astronomer Who Owned A Psychic Dwarf Slave]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-tycho-brahe/stephanroget

Who was Tycho Brahe? Even if you haven't heard his distinctive name, you know his work. One of history's most influential astronomers, the Danish scientist lived and worked in the mid 16th century. His contributions to the field included the discovery of supernovae and work on the properties of comets. But while Brahe’s work in astronomy is recognized, the man doesn't get enough credit for his incredible - and often ludicrous - biography.

Some of the facts about Tycho Brahe are hard to believe. He led the sort of life that, if it had been lived by a fictional character, would have been deemed "too unrealistic." Proving that truth is often stranger than fiction, Brahe walked a bizarre path from birth until his tragic death - which, coincidentally, may have inspired a famous work of literature. Tycho Brahe made a definite impact on the scientific world, but given the countless crazy details surrounding him, it’s a wonder he isn't discussed more often.

Read on to discover more about this fascinating historical figure.


Tycho Brahe, The Bizarre 16th Century Astronomer Who Owned A Psychic Dwarf Slave,

He Was Stolen By His Uncle

Many historical figures had a troubled childhood. But most of them weren't abducted by an uncle - and had parents who were totally cool with that fact. Such was the bizarre origin story of Tycho Brahe. His rich uncle, Jørgen Brahe, was childless and decided to take his sibling’s boy for himself in 1548. After the initial shock wore off, Brahe’s birth parents decided that Jørgen would probably provide a better life for their son, and left their child with him. The wealthy Jørgen did pay for all of his nephew’s schooling.


He May Have Been Poisoned By Johannes Kepler

Some historians theorize that Brahe was murdered in the name of science. One of Brahe’s contemporaries was Johannes Kepler, another incredibly influential astronomer. Brahe’s habit of hoarding his research and data was frustrating to Kepler, and some believe it may have led him to murder his mentor.

There's no evidence to support this theory, although Kepler did admit to skirting ethics by taking Brahe's research upon his death.


He Was Rumored To Have Been Murdered By The King

Brahe was a popular man with the Danish royal family. While his astronomical fame brought him plenty of notoriety, he also gained favor when his adopted father saved the Danish King from drowning. This brought Brahe into the royals’ inner circle, where he befriended the King and became close with his family. Too close, if rumors are to be believed - some historians suggest that Brahe began an affair with the Queen, metal nose and all. If that’s true, then perhaps the Queen’s son had Brahe poisoned when he took the throne.


He Possibly Inspired Hamlet

Tycho Brahe’s amazing life may have inspired William Shakespeare. The Bard seemed to be aware of the tale of Brahe, as he referenced the Danish astonomer’s work in his plays. Some even believe that the intrigue and mystery surrounding Brahe's death may have sparked Shakespeare to write Hamlet.

Brahe became close with the Danish royal family, and some historians believe he may have had an affair with the Queen. They theorize that her son, enraged by the scandal, poisoned Brahe in revenge - a similar story to the plot of Shakespeare's tragedy.


He Had A Psychic Jester

Brahe's frequent companion, Jepp, was a dwarf jester. The astronomer had Jepp perform all manner of jokes and tricks for him, and made him sit under the table during meals for reasons that are probably best left unknown. Brahe was convinced that Jepp had psychic and precognitive abilities.


He Partied With His Prized Pet Moose

Brahe's choice of pet can charitably be called eccentric: a moose. Brahe adored his moose; it slept in his house like a dog, and reportedly trotted alongside his carriage. Unfortunately, the unusual creature became a fixture at local parties, where it developed a taste for beer. One day, it had a bit too much and fell down the stairs drunk, eventually dying of its injuries.


He Inherited 1% Of Denmark's Wealth

After the death of his uncle-father Jørgen, Brahe had inherited both Jørgen’s considerable wealth and that of his biological father. Those fortunes added up: researchers estimate that Brahe’s inheritances added up to approximately 1% of Denmark’s entire wealth.


He Wore Copper, Gold, And Silver Noses

After losing a portion of his nose in a duel, the wealthy Brahe commissioned a number of ornate fake noses, including some for special occasions. He wore a copper nose most of the time, but reportedly swapped in gold and silver coverings whenever the situation called for them.


His Adopted Father Died Saving The King From Drowning

Even the people around Brahe ended up in crazy situations. His adopted father Jørgen was an extremely wealthy man and close to the King of Denmark, Frederick II. He was so close, in fact, that he was on hand when the King nearly drowned one day. Jørgen bravely attempted to rescue his monarch, and he succeeded - but he caught pneumonia, and died. Brahe lost his father figure, but gained even more national notoriety in Denmark, as he found himself ingratiated with the royal family.


He Lost His Nose In A Duel Over Math

In 1556, Brahe got into a heated math-related debate with a colleague. The two agreed that the only way to settle their disagreement was with a duel - which Brahe lost when his opponent took off a chunk of his nose. The astronomer wore a metal covering over it for the rest of his life.



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Mon, 27 Feb 2017 02:59:30 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-tycho-brahe/stephanroget
<![CDATA[9 Crazy International Treaties That Were Signed For Insane Reasons]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/craziest-treaties-ever-signed/nathan-gibson

Treaties are an essential step in reaching peace between and among warring factions; they are the documents that codify compromise. However, that doesn't mean they aren't totally outrageous sometimes - it all depends on the terms reached between the two groups. Whether they are trying to end an armed conflict or set out a trade agreement, some pretty absurd accords and WTF concordats have played an integral role in the way the world has been shaped. Some of the crazy historical treaties and insane political deals that have been made might truly baffle your mind much in the same way that things like ridiculous historical riots and moments of mass hysteria from history do.

In some of these instances, the treaties might revolve around a strange subject that just seems weird for two or more countries to be involved with (like migratory birds), and in others it could be how the treaty was implemented or developed that makes it so unusual (like when Spain basically took ALL of the New World). Whatever the case, all of these treaties are likely to make you say ‘huh?’


9 Crazy International Treaties That Were Signed For Insane Reasons,

The Treaty Of Tordesillas Divided Up The New World Between Spain And Portugal

The Treaty of Tordesillas was an agreement between the two great superpowers of the late 15th century: Spain and Portugal. After new lands outside of Europe had been "discovered" by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, the two nations came into conflict as they tried to decide who should "own" these areas. The lack of maps and a poor knowledge of the land outside of their own empires meant that the final Treaty was hugely unfavorable, giving Spain almost all the land in North and South America, with Portugal only gaining access to a small part of Brazil in exchange. Even stranger, the Treaty was only ever signed by those two countries, excluding all other European powers, who, instead, totally ignored the terms of the 1494 treaty.


The Cuban-American Treaty Gave The US Total Access To Part Of A Country It Had A Travel Ban On

First signed in 1903 and then again in 1934, the Cuban-American Treaty was a bizarre concordat between the United States and Cuba. It essentially gave the US a lease to Guantanamo Bay as a coal and naval base for a nominal fee. Even more bizarre was the fact that the lease was indefinite, giving the United States the opportunity to use the area for as long as it deemed necessary. This eventually led to the US government opening up a detention center at the military base, which caused a great deal of strain between the two already uneasy countries.


The Barbary Treaties Legalized The Payment Of Blackmail To Pirates

In the roughly 40 years between 1795 and 1836, the US signed a total of seven different treaties with Algeria, Tripoli, Tunis, and Morocco. Why so many treaties? To protect US shipping interests in the region and secure the safe release of prisoners that were seized by these countries' privateers. Essentially, the Barbary Treaties, as they have come to be called, legalized the use of blackmail on the part of the North-African city-states and the payment of it by the United States. Basically, the US codified a set of agreements that paid pirates to release US merchants and sailors who were just trying to do US shipping business in the area. Probably not the foreign policy stance the US would take today.


The Treaty On Open Skies Enables Member Countries To Check Out Each Other's Militaries

While it may sound bizarre, the Treaty on Open Skies is a settlement between 34 countries that allows them to fly observation aircraft over any of their lands. It was brought into existence to give member nations the chance to gather intelligence to ensure that they don’t commit miscalculations of military forces that could lead to armed conflict. Each member state can also share data between other signatories, with the only restriction being on the type of equipment that can be used during observation flights.


The Kellogg–Briand Pact Outlawed War... Right Before WWII

The Kellogg–Briand Pact was the brain child of French and US officials that effectively outlawed war after the devastation wrought by WWI. It was introduced in 1928 as a way to try to stop the increasing militarization of nations and ensure that huge global conflicts would not happen again. Essentially, it laid out terms that would force countries into settling disputes through peaceful means. Obviously - in a kind of dark irony - it proved to be completely unsuccessful. World War II broke out little more than a decade later. Many of the signatories also engaged in armed conflict, just failing to call them wars to avoid breaking the treaty.


The Treaty of Washington Resolved The Great Pig War

The Treaty of Washington was a far-reaching document that covered all sorts of issues and problems between the United States and the United Kingdom. What makes the 1871 agreement so crazy was that it also settled a 12-year dispute that had led to both countries occupying a small island after one of its residents shot dead a pig. When British soldiers threatened to arrest the shooter, US military personnel came to the island, with both sides escalating until there were several warships, thousands of men, and more than 100 cannons present. The Treaty of Washington peacefully arbitrated this increasingly incendiary situation, culminating in Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany deciding the United States had the rightful claim to San Juan Island.


Treaty Of Tilsit Was Signed On A Raft Floating In The River

After winning a series of decisive battles against both Russia and Prussia, Napoleon was willing to enter peace talks in order to concentrate on his major enemy: Great Britain. However, neither the French Emperor nor Tsar Alexander I was willing to go to the other in order to sue for peace, so a raft was built on the Neiman river in the middle of the two opposing camps, with tents for each side set up on the floating structure. After several days of negotiations, the Treaty of Tilsit was signed in 1807.


The Migratory Bird Treaty Protects Transnational Birds

More commonly known as MBTA, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was a 1918 agreement that was originally made between the United States and Canada . It essentially protects birds that migrate between different countries as part of their natural life cycle, banning anyone from killing, hunting, or capturing particular migratory birds. This includes over 800 species, and the number of signatories to the treaty has since expanded to include conventions for other nations, including Mexico, Japan, and Russia.


The Land Boundary Agreement Eliminated The World's Only Third-Order Enclave

This treaty came about as a way of solving a number of border disputes between India and Bangladesh. A holdover from the time both nations were owned by colonial powers with poor maps, each country had a number of enclaves within them that were officially the territory of the other. This meant that some Bangladeshi land was completely surrounded by Indian territory and vice versa. Dahala Khagrabari was the most famous example because it was the only "third-order enclave" - an enclave within an enclave within an enclave - in the world. The problem was solved in 2016 when the treaty was ratified, meaning residents could get access to healthcare, schools, and other services much more easily.



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Wed, 11 Jan 2017 10:12:21 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/craziest-treaties-ever-signed/nathan-gibson
<![CDATA[12 Gross Steps In The Disgusting Process of Mummifying A Dead Body]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happens-during-mummification/lyra-radford

In case you’ve ever wondered how to make a mummy, get ready to find out - and possibly gag a little. For some, the word "mummy" conjures up images of linen wrapped, brainless creatures who return from the dead to curse those who dare disturb their slumber. But that's the stuff of Hollywood fantasy. When it comes to the facts on how to mummify a body, the real-life details are pretty disgusting.

Sometimes mummification occurs naturally. The mummies discovered in the peat bogs of northern Europe and preserved bodies found on glaciers come to mind. But there are other, exceptionally gross ways to make a mummy. The ancient Egyptians had some seriously disgusting mummification steps and they weren’t the only ones. The premise is essentially the same across many cultures: a dead body needs to be preserved in a somewhat recognizable human form.

Curious? Repulsed? Read on to discover some of the grossest ways to make a mummy.


12 Gross Steps In The Disgusting Process of Mummifying A Dead Body,

A Hook Is Inserted Through The Nose To Stir And Remove The Brain

As if removing a brain from a human body wasn’t gross enough, the ancient Egyptian mummification process required the brain to be pulled out through the nostrils. In order to prevent any disfigurement of the face, embalmers would have to carefully reach a hook up through the nasal passageway, poke it into the brain to break it up, and drag the bits of brain tissue back out through the nose.


The Eye Sockets Are Filled With Onions

How do you fill an empty eye socket? With onions, of course. And that's not the only edible that sometimes cropped up in the mummy-making process - peppercorns were stuffed up the nostrils if they fell flat. Over time, embalmers began crafting embellishments like golden tongues and metal sheaths to secure fingers, and even developed a resinous paste to give the corpse some color.


The Penis Is Wrapped Separately

After all the gizzards were embalmed and the corpse was shaped to look as life-like as possible, it was time to wrap it up. The incision was sealed and the body rubbed down with some good-smelling oils. Then, bandages were wrapped over the entire body, from head to toe. Delicate portions of the anatomy, like the fingers and the penis, were wrapped separately. The completed mummy was then put into a coffin or sarcophagus, and buried.


The Corpse Is Stuffed Like A Doll

After the body was emptied out, embalmers were essentially left with a leathery potato sack of a person. In order to recreate a more human shape, extra linen or sand was often used to fill up flat or sagging areas of the body - kind of like creating a stuffed doll out of a flesh suit.


The Body Is Dehydrated With Salt

The embalmers had to remove any remaining moisture from the body. This was done by covering and packing it with natron salt. After approximately 40 days, the body was washed with water from the Nile and coated in oil to help keep some of the skin’s elasticity.


The Heart Is Replaced

While most organs were removed and preserved separately, ancient Egyptians paid extra attention to the heart. It might be removed, wrapped, and put back in the body. This special treatment was a sort of insurance policy for the afterlife, as the heart was said to be weighed against a feather to determine if a person would be admitted by Osiris.


The Body Cavity Is Packed With Spices

Once the organs were removed, the body cavity was cleaned out, doused with palm wine, and then rinsed again in a blend of pounded spices. After all the gunk was scraped out and the spice rub was completed, the empty body was filled back up with aromatic substances like crushed myrrh and cassia.


Body Fat Might Be Turned Into A Preservative

Some cultures re-purpose their mummy’s fat. After carefully removing all the fatty tissue from a corpse, the indigenous people of Melanesia would combine it with red ochre and paint the mixture back onto the body. This body-fat paint served as a preservative. They’d sew all the body's orifices shut and smoke it over a fire for ten days. Once the body dried, it would be decorated.


The Organs Get Dried Out Like Jerky

After the organs were harvested and washed, they were then packed in natron to dry out. Natron is a salt and baking soda mixture that absorbs fat and moisture. Usually, each organ was placed in its own box or canopic jar to be preserved separately. The heart was either left inside the body, or wrapped separately and replaced, because it was considered to hold a person’s essence and intelligence. The brain was considered useless and thrown out.


The Organs Are Pulled Out Through The Abdomen

Removal of all internal organs was a necessary evil in order to make a mummy. First, an incision was made along the left side of the abdomen and anything that decayed rapidly was taken out. Specifically, the intestines, lungs, liver, and the stomach all had to be pulled out and washed off.



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Fri, 17 Feb 2017 07:23:40 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/what-happens-during-mummification/lyra-radford
<![CDATA[Things Most People Don't Know About Pompeii]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-pompeii/theodoros-karasavvas

Mount Vesuvius was responsible for the destruction of the city of Pompeii in 79 AD. Most everyone has heard one story or another about arguably the most well-known volcanic eruption in history, but how many of you know what really happened on that fateful day in Pompeii?

Weirdly, Mount Vesuvius isn't really that impressive in person. In terms of size, it's really more like a reasonably big hill. Of course, those with even a cursory knowledge of history or geology know that this mountain located on the west coast of Italy is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Honestly, the Vesuvius eruption is not even the most interesting part of the story of the Italian city. How much do you know about daily life before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius? Hopefully, these facts about Pompeii will shed some light on one of the most famous ancient catastrophes and natural disasters in recorded history, as well as the vibrant society that preceded it. 


Things Most People Don't Know About Pompeii,

Pompeii’s Citizens Had Perfect Teeth

During the 1800s, the skeletal remains found in Pompeii were cast in plaster for protection. This made research and examination impossible for scientists at the time, but, thanks to contemporary technology (more specifically, multi-layer CT scans), modern Italian scientists were able to make 3-D reconstructions of the skeletons that provided interesting insights into life in Pompeii.

One of the things that surprised researchers the most was the “Hollywood teeth” the majority of the Pompeii's citizens had. Their dental fortitude was mainly due to their good diet (rich in fruits and vegetables), as well as extremely high levels of fluorine that existed around the volcano.


People Tried To Create Makeshift Masks To Save Themselves

Although the story of Pompeii is rife with tragic elements, perhaps one of the saddest things that archeologists discovered is that the citizens had tried to save themselves, using their tunics as makeshift masks. In the 1990s, when they uncovered many of the remains, archeologists noticed that a number of the bodies had their tunics pulled up around their mouths in an attempt to ward off the unbelievably thick, smoky, and sulfurous air. Unfortunately, the high heat and reality that many were essentially boiled alive made this attempt futile.


The Disaster Of Pompeii Coined The Word "Volcano"

When most of us hear the word “Pompeii,” our minds probably go to volcanoes and hot lava. The citizens of Pompeii themselves, however, didn’t know what a volcano was. 

Before the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, there was no word for volcano. They had to come up with one right after the catastrophic eruption. The word is derived from “Vulcan," the Roman God of Fire.  


Pompeii Was A Popular Holiday Destination For Wealthy Romans

Since Rome was heavily populated (by ancient standards), and the summers could be unbearably hot, many wealthy Romans looked for extravagant resorts at which to take vacations.

Pompeii was nowhere near as crowded as Rome; it had remarkable architecture, a large amphitheater where top tier shows took place, and (most importantly) the climate there was way cooler than the hot, dry weather of Rome during the summers. 


In Terms Of Eruptions, Pompeii Wasn't All That Deadly

Despite being by far the most famous volcanic eruption of all time (and the inspiration for several Hollywood films), the explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE is not even in the top five deadliest volcanic eruptions in history.

With various historians estimating the total casualties of the eruption between 1,500 to 3,500, it seems like an almost incomparable tragedy. Sadly, however, these numbers don’t even come close to the 29,025 victims of Mount Pelee in Martinique or the 25,000 who died when Ruiz erupted in Colombia. 


The Frescoes On The Walls Reveal A Lot About Pompeian Culture

Although very few written sources exist documenting pre-eruption Pompeii, the detailed frescoes of nobility on the walls of the city – which are incredibly well preserved – tell us a lot about what Pompeian society might've been like, according to historians. For example, there's a major difference in the skin tones of men and women in the paintings; men are golden bronzed, and women appear in alabaster tones, gilded with jewelry and surrounded by fine furnishings. According to the scholars who studied the frescoes, this indicates that: 

"Women of higher rank would have demonstrated that they could afford a life of leisure by cultivating a pallor that would only have been possible for those who need not venture outdoors during the hottest hours of the day" 

Thanks to the incredibly preserved artwork, we can learn about life in the early Campania region.


Pompeii Was Accidentally Discovered In 1599 (Then Buried Again)

After sitting beneath a thick layer of ash for more than 1,500 years, Pompeii was accidentally discovered in 1599 when the workers who were digging a water channel unearthed frescoes and an inscription containing the name of the city.

The most famous Italian architect of the time, Domenico Fontana, visited the site to examine the finds and unearthed a few more frescoes. Unfortunately, he was also a huge prude. He re-covered them because of the excessive sexual content of the paintings.

So yeah, the city became buried again (thanks to censorship) for nearly another 150 years before the king of Naples, Charles of Bourbon, ordered the proper excavation of the site during the late 1740s. 


The Ash Didn't Kill Everyone; The Heat Did

The estimates as to how many people were killed in Pompeii vary greatly, and the number has been a heated topic of debate among historians for decades. Regardless of how many people actually perished, it seems that we have been wrong in our belief that most of the victims died of suffocation from the ash in the air. New studies suggest that most died instantly from the extreme heat. That's right, unfortunately most of them were roasted (or boiled) alive. 


Graffiti Was A Trend In Pompeii

If you think graffiti is a modern invention, think again. Even today, visitors can see the vast amount of well-preserved graffiti in Pompeii (and other, more "genuine" wall paintings), which gives us insight into the local society at the time. Among others, you can see graffiti on the wall of a brothel that reads, “Myrtis, you suck well.” Way to keep it classy, ancient humans. 


There Were Warning Signs Before The Eruptions; The Locals Just Didn't Know To Look

Given that they didn't even have a word for "volcano" before the deadly eruption of Vesuvius, it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise that local Pompeians didn't notice the many warning signs that preceded the event. For example, there were many preceding earthquakes – a massive one of which occurred in 59 CE – but locals didn't connect this to the stirrings of Vesuvius. In addition to earthquakes, underground springs had begun drying up, and local wildlife had begun behaving strangely. If only they could've read the signs.



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Fri, 10 Feb 2017 06:22:39 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-pompeii/theodoros-karasavvas
<![CDATA[10 Controversial Facts People Don't Know About Alexander Graham Bell]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-alexander-graham-bell/justin-andress

American schoolchildren know Alexander Graham Bell as the inventor of the telephone. By the time they've reached adulthood, they might've also learned that Bell was a teacher of the deaf and a very close friend of Helen Keller. That’s about the extent of most people’s education on the famous American inventor, which is enough to paint him as a mostly silent and wholly admirable American hero. But, was Bell really an all-around good guy?

In reality, the man lived a long, controversial life that casts more than a little doubt on his legitimacy. Bell would say he was an “idea man,” a term that functionally translates to “person who dreams up impossible ideas, then hires people who can make it happen before taking credit for their innovation because he signed the employment paperwork.”

History has produced several dark Alexander Graham Bell stories that make him look less like the American titan briefly featured in history books and more like a pompous thief and genocidal theorist. If the thought of besmirching Bell's reputation makes you shake your first at the liberal agenda, or, if you're just curious about more balanced pictures of historical figures, you best keep on reading.


10 Controversial Facts People Don't Know About Alexander Graham Bell,

He Was President Of The Eugenics Fan Club

First off, a quick explanation of eugenics for those who like to steer clear of philosophies that favor social engineering. Eugenics is the study of good breeding; it was developed around 1883 in the hope of guiding the human race through selective breeding of only the best and brightest (and tossing everyone else in the trash can). One famous example of people who came to rather enjoy eugenics: the Nazis. 

Okay, so back to Bell. No, he wasn’t a fascist - he died in 1922, a full decade before Hitler was even a headline in the papers. That being said, he was part of something called the American Breeder’s Association, which was founded in 1903. In 1914, the organization made an arguably tactful name change to the American Genetics Association. Bell was no passive member, either. He contributed to an article titled “How to Improve the Race.” In 1921, he was the honorary president for the 2nd International Eugenics Congress.


His Inventions Didn't Work In Moments Of Crisis

On the morning of July 2, 1881, President James Garfield was cut down by an assassin’s bullet. The Republican president - who had been inaugurated only a few months earlier - was headed out on a vacation with his two sons. He entered the Baltimore and Potomac train station that morning in high spirits. Then, Charles Guiteau, a man with a long reputation for insanity and who had previously been turned down for a consulship to Paris by Garfield himself, fired two shots at the President.

The first grazed Garfield’s arm. The second lodged deep in his torso. Once doctors were done sticking their unwashed hands into his festering wounds in unsuccessful attempts to dig the bullet out, they admitted defeat. 

That’s about the time Bell rolled in with his “induction balance” device, a metal detector with a hit-and-miss reputation. Rushing to the presidential mansion, Bell set up his device. The results it produced were “uncertain and indefinite.” He was unable to find the second bullet on two separate occasions.

Bell later claimed that his machine was confused because the President’s mattress had steel springs. So he whipped up another iteration of the device to inspect the President. Unfortunately, Garfield died of an infection before Bell got the chance.


He Tried To Outlaw The Use Of Sign Language

Bell's parents influenced his devotion to the education of deaf people. His mother, Eliza Grace, was almost completely deaf, though that didn’t stop her from becoming an accomplished concert pianist. Bell’s father, Alexander Melville Bell, was known as a phonetician who studied sound and written speech. Both Bell’s father and grandfather were accomplished teachers of voice and elocution.

So, when Bell was old enough, he set out to help the deaf. His passion was so notable that Helen Keller, whom he met as a child, would later write that she “loved him at once.” It was Bell who set Keller up with her most famous companion, Annie Sullivan. 

So, that’s all well and good; his heart was in the right place and all. Unfortunately, Bell’s method of preparing the deaf for the world at large was super, duper stupid. He wanted to outlaw the use of sign language, instead requiring deaf children to learn to read lips and speak. Bell’s belief was that "oralism," as it was known, was the only way for a deaf person to fully integrate into proper society.


He Tried To Close Schools For The Deaf

One of Mr. Bell’s sticking points was the increasing number of marriages among deaf people. So, Bell set to work eliminating what he called, “the formation of a deaf variety of the human race.” Yep, that's right: Bell was your garden variety eugenicist.

It seemed Bell’s goal was to force deaf people to mingle with the common (read "hearing") man. He began to actively campaign against deaf isolation, proposing that residential schools dedicated to the instruction of the deaf be shut down (so they’d stop meeting each other so easily), that deaf teachers should stop being hired (in order to force deaf students out of their shell), and that sign language be actively discouraged in the instruction of the deaf.

Though his family history might have impacted his method and fueled his fervor, his logic about how to best "help" stemmed from a much darker place.


There’s Some Debate Over His Having Invented The Telephone

Let’s start with Bell’s most famous invention, the telephone, the patent for which the inventor spent most of his life defending. In his day, he was actually sued 550 times by fellow inventors who claimed he - at least in part - stole their technology. Of course, the most compelling case comes from rival Elisha Gray.

In 2007, a book titled The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret presented proof that Bell’s patent design for the telephone changed drastically after a 12-day trip to Washington in which Bell hoped to resolve some patent questions about his work. Before the trip, Bell was headed down the wrong path. After the trip, he came up with the right idea, a design “hastily written in the margin of his patent.”

What’s more, Bell was famously reluctant to test out his phone in front of Gray.

But how did Bell get away with it, you ask? Because AG Bell was focused on transmitting voices with his contraption. Gray wanted to be able to send multiple telegraph messages at once. Supposedly, Bell saw the aural value in Gray’s design and lifted it for his voice transmitter.


He And An Assistant Pioneered Fiber Optics

The telephone hit the public in 1876 and made Alexander Graham Bell a vast fortune that served to fund his curiosity for the rest of his life. One thing Bell remained intent on perfecting was the transmission of voice through space.

In 1880, Bell and an “assistant” named Sumner Tainter heralded the development of fiber optics when they sent Tainter’s voice 700 feet over “a flickering beam of sunlight” with the help of Bell’s new photophone. Bell was so excited he actually wanted to name one of his kids “Photophone.”


He Helped Invent The World’s Fastest Speedboat

Along with a fellow named Casey Baldwin, who managed Bell’s estate and laboratory, Bell became obsessed with creating what he a called “a hydroplane.”

The general idea was simple. The boat Baldwin and Bell crafted had submerged hydrofoils that lifted the boat out of the water as the craft’s speed increased. The result was reduced surface tension along the water and a more maneuverable craft. 

The final result of Baldwin’s engineering resulted in the HD-4, or hydrodrome 4, which was able to reach a world-record-breaking 70.86 mph, a record that stood for more a decade.


He Had Almost Zero Formal Education

Before he enrolled in the University of Edinburgh, Bell had about one accrued year of formal education. However his parents did homeschool the young boy, which makes sense since they were an elocution teacher and a piano player. 

Once Bell entered into the University of Edinburgh, he didn’t complete his lessons and failed to distinguish himself as a student, even though the university’s curriculum was largely agreed to be inferior to the one to be had in Victorian England.

Also, Bell was famously, “bad with tools” which meant he ostensibly had neither the academic or technical prowess to complete a lot of the inventions for which he gets most of the credit.


His Inventions Had Some Pretty Famous Critics

At the time, America’s most famous writer, Mark Twain, had several thoughts on the telephone. The first were, in Twain’s classic manner, joking and self-deprecatory. 

The author relayed one anecdote in which he turned down the opportunity to buy stock in the telephone because he, “didn't want anything more to do with wildcat speculation.” Of course, the story ends with the man who did buy stock ending up “emptying greenbacks into his premises at such a rate that he had to handle them with a shovel.”

That was the joke. The philosophy was a bit more acidic. Twain was an avid fan of technology, which made him one of the first Americans to have a phone installed in his home. After having had it for several months, though, Twain reconsidered.

“If Bell had invented a muffler or gag, he would have done a real service,” Twain said. “The human voice carries entirely too far as it is. Here we have been hollering ‘shut up’ to our neighbors for centuries, and now you fellows come along and seek to complicate matters”.

In a Christmas story for the now-defunct New York World, Twain wrote, “It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us... may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss - except the inventor of the telephone.”


He Tried To Beat the Wright Brothers At Flight And Failed, Even Though He Stole Some Of Their Ideas

In 1907, four years after the Wright Brothers’ triumph at Kitty Hawk, Alexander Graham Bell organized the Aerial Experimental Association, because Bell wasn’t convinced of the Wright Brothers’ skill. Bell favored a plane that used the tetrahedral cell structure, which the inventor believed would produce a more stable and practical solution.

Between 1907 and 1914, the AEA introduced four new designs that were supposedly more stable than the Wright Brothers’ contribution. They were dubbed the Red Wing, White Wing, June Bug and Silver Dart. None were successful, and at least one, the June Bug, contained designs covered in the Wright Brothers’ patent, a fact supported by the US Circuit Court of Appeals in 1914. 

In an effort to undermine the Court ruling, Bell and his collaborator, Glenn Curtiss, resurrected the failed design of one Dr. Samuel P. Langley, whose Aerodrome had crashed into the Potomac twice. The last attempt came in 1903, a mere nine days before the Wright Brothers’ successful flight.

Using $2,000 of Smithsonian funds, the AEA reconstructed Langley’s Aerodrome in an attempt to prove it could have flown before the Wright Brothers’ plane. The reconstructed Aerodrome hopped off the ground briefly before being shuttered completely in the wake of the Wright Brothers’ popular design.



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Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:31:52 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-alexander-graham-bell/justin-andress
<![CDATA[1871-1914: Remembering France's "Golden Age" of Prostitution]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/insane-paris-prostitution-stories/setareh-janda

Paris's Belle Epoque was a time of elegant architecture, wide boulevards, and inviting cafes. It was also an era rich in French hedonism. Though the cultural center of the world, Paris was also a wild city. Parisians who lived through the golden years of 1871 to 1914  loved to have a good time. In an era of grace and beauty, refinement and respectability, the city was also defined by its sensual decadence, debauchery, and risqué practices.

Parisian night life was as colorful as it was over-the-top. In districts like Montmartre, cabarets and clubs such as the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bèrgere sprung to life, serving champagne and absinthe as a side order to scandalous, shocking entertainments. This libertine, carefree climate inspired scores of artists, writers, and musicians. The cabarets, cafes, and brothels of Paris abetted Impressionist indulgences.

Belle Epoque Paris also provided opportunities for increasingly independent young women, who came to the city in droves to follow their interests and talents. They attempted to sidestep marriage and find paths to wealth and independence. These women often turned to the stage, finding work as actresses and dancers. Frequently, this work led them to become mistresses to wealthy, influential men.

In this culture, a golden age of prostitution flourished. Prostitution in Paris was highly structured and regulated, and sex workers ranged from the high-class, wealthy courtesan to the common streetwalker. Bordellos dotted the city, offering a wide variety of options for the discerning customer. A culture as fast and loose as this was bound to produce some scintillating stories.


1871-1914: Remembering France's "Golden Age" of Prostitution,

La Belle Otero Was So Beloved Her Breasts Inspired A Building In Cannes

La Belle Otero was one of the most feted courtesans in the Belle Époque. Born in 1868 in Spain, she made a name for herself in the dance halls of France before becoming a star at the Folies Bèrgere, one of the most popular clubs in Paris. Her beauty attracted the attention of some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, and she became the rumored lover of King Edward VII and Prince Albert of Monaco, among others. Her physique was so admired, the Carlton Hotel in Cannes is said to have modeled its cupolas on her breasts.


Prostitutes Were Categorized And Partially Regulated

Parisian prostitutes were categorized by two overarching designations, those who worked in brothels and those who did not. Those who didn't work in brothels, be they women who hung around street corners, stalked taverns, worked out of doorways, or weaseled their way into the upper echelons  of society, were divided into two categories of their own, respectfuls (respectueuses) and rebels (insoumises). The former worked for pimps, the latter did not. An interesting historical footnote - the name insoumises was taken up in the 21st century by feminists agitators.  

Within these categories, there were yet more categories. For instance, some prostitutes who were insoumises weren't totally free. There were girls so young their mothers acted as their pimps, teenagers and adolescents who weren't technically owned by a pimp but who were, for all intents and purposes, beholden to a boss. 

Prostitutes in brothels were required to register with the police. All prostitutes in the city were supposed to undergo regular medical exams; between the 1850s and 1870s, between 6,000 and 15,000 women were recorded as having done so each year. Any woman who was caught tricking on the street was required to register with the police, though how often the police actually arrested anyone for this remains unclear. 

Beyond these categories were women who skirted the edges of prostitution. Dancers, actresses, courtesans, and other performers and entertainers whose primary occupation was not sex, but who sold themselves or were kept for their sex. Among these women were the lorette, or kept women; some courtesans, some mistresses, some lovers, all scattered in furnished, paid-for apartments throughout the fashionable districts of Paris. 

As Luc Sante points out in The Other Paris, his poetic study of the history of the city's underclass, plenty of women filled many of these roles throughout a career. At age 14 or 15, they were young and beautiful, the talk of the town, a coveted prize at a high-class bordello or performer in a night club. Such a girl might become a lorette for a time, then move back to the nightclubs. If she didn't make herself permanently, she would eventually take to the streets, on a slow decline until she ended up working the corner for drunk, sleazy Johns in a notorious arrondissement.


Colette Caused A Riot When She Kissed Another Woman On The Moulin Rouge's Stage

One of the most colorful voices of the Belle Époque was that of writer-actress Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, better known as Colette, her pen name. After separating from her husband in 1906, Colette began a wandering career as an actress and engaged in affairs with men and women. On stage, she sometimes showed her breasts. By 1907, she was having an affair with a French Marquise. When the Marquise joined Colette on stage at the Moulin Rouge and the two shared a kiss, a riot broke out

Colette carried on numerous affairs - including one with her stepson - and was eventually nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her story Gigi - which was adapted into a popular musical - is heralded as a charming portrait of the gaiety and frivolity of the Belle Époque.


So Many French Women Were Sold Into Prostitution Abroad 'French' Became A Synonym For Prostitute

The craze for prostitution in late 19th century France created a massive human trafficking industry. While Paris had plenty of women to fill its brothels and streets, many provincial towns didn't have enough to go around. To meet customer demand, women who worked for brothels or intermediary parties walked the streets of Paris or other cities offering naive young women an opportunity to work as maids in the country. They ended up in slaughterhouses - the term of cheap, factory-like whorehouses. 

Scouting women on the street gave way to massive organizations with talent-recruiting fronts. These organizations advertised a need for entertainers, dancers, performers, and other such professionals. Those who signed up were sent to places like Buenos Aires or Cape Town on contracts they didn't earn enough to buy their way out of. Some started as waitresses though eventually turned to prostitution, while others were forced straight into brothels. This industry was so pervasive at the turn of the 20th century the Cape Town euphemism for "whore" was "French girl," and "Francucha" ("French girl") became slang for prostitute in Buenos Aires. 

The organizations selling such women liked them young, preferably 16 to 18, and would ship women as far away as Manchuria (in northern China, bordering Russia). These organizations so thoroughly convinced women they were off on some grand adventure, a police raid on a group prepped for shipment to Cape Town in 1902 didn't believe they were being sold into prostitution. 


A Future King Of England Used A Specialty Sex Chair At His Favorite Bordello

Before he became king of England, Edward (VII, if you're counting) spent his time waiting around for his mother, Queen Victoria, to die. He didn't ascend to the throne until he was 59, so he spent the vast majority of his life as the Prince of Wales, next in line for the throne. While stuck in a royal waiting room, Edward decided to have a little fun. The playboy prince was known for his gigantic appetite for pleasure. 

Like many British men in the 19th century, the prince frequented the bordellos of Belle Epoque Paris, and he did it with enthusiasm and flair. His favorite place to sheathe his royal scepter was upscale Le Chabanais, which catered to a number of high-profile clients. The Prince of Wales kept his own room there, complete with his coat-of-arms mounted over the bed and a tub he filled with champagne. He also kept an apartment in an area a peer of his dubbed "the clitoris of Paris."

As the prince's appetites grew larger, so did his body. He swelled to an enormous size, and was known to eat as many as five meals a day. He supposedly commissioned a sex chair specially designed so he could enjoy the company of a woman without crushing her.


The French President Died While Getting It On With His Mistress

Madame Marguerite Steinheil was one of the most scandalous women in Paris in the Belle Epoque. Considering the hedonism of the turn of the century, that's really saying something. 

Through her marriage to a French artist, Madame Steinheil gained entry to the upper echelons of Parisian society. In 1897, she met the 56-year-old President of France, Félix Faure, and soon became his mistress.

On February 16, 1899, Steinheil's servants were summoned to his private room, where they found Faure dead on the couch and disheveled Steinheil straightening her clothes and hair. The scene was altogether scandalous, and rumors quickly spread that a love-making tryst between the two had brought about a fatal seizure. 


The Number Of Prostitutes In The City Was Staggering, As Was The Population Growth

Throughout the 19th century and into pre-war 20th century, prostitutes who worked at brothels were required to register with the police, as were those caught turning tricks on the street. In 1812, Paris had about 900 registered prostitutes. By 1832, the number was 3,500. By the 1850s, it's estimated Paris had a 34,000 prostitutes all told. The number of prostitutes in London at the time was estimated at 24,000, though London had twice the population of Paris. 

By the time the Belle Epoque arrived, Paris was flush with prostitutes. According to one (admittedly hysterical) estimate, Paris had as many as 120,000 prostitutes. Though this figure may not be accurate, it's worth noting that, between 1872 and 1911, the population of Paris exploded; the city swelled from 1,851,792 residents to 2,888,110. The entire urban area of Paris held 4.5 million people by 1911. In 1811, when there were around 900 registered prostitutes in the city, the population was 622,636.


You Could Get Pretty Much Anything You Wanted If You Knew Where To Look

While it goes without saying luminaries such as the future King of England were entitled to whatever they wanted at the brothel, pretty much anyone in Paris could indulge any fantasy, so long as you had the money and knew where to look. The specialization of whorehouses went beyond themed rooms in generic pleasure centers. 

Were you inclined to search, around the turn of the 20th century you could find bordellos catering to BDSM; slave fantasies, replete with African girls; sex in a coffin; a classy place to bring your sweat heart or spouse for couples whoring; and houses that catered to employees of the Catholic church (and perhaps those who fantasized of such employment and could acquire the vestments). Chez Christiane, a very expensive place, specialized in sex with accouterments - whips, chains, collars, and even a St. Andrew's cross. 

Elsewhere, brothels hosted soldiers's nights for enlisted men. Upscale bordellos for gay or bisexual men seeking male companionship ran the gamut from discreet locales with feminine cross dressers to blatantly homosexual party houses where, on more than one occasion, novelist Marcel Proust was seen carousing.


Swallowing Was Extra After Fellatio, But Mint BJ Spice Was Free

A menu for a brothel at 69 Rue Chat-Noir ("69 Black Cat/P*ssy Street"), an address that never existed in Paris (there's no such street;it obviously invented for fun) unearthed by Luc Sante for his book The Other Paris gives a good idea of what was available to patrons of sex houses at the end of the Belle Epoque (the menu dates to 1915). 

You could spice up a hand job with a pinky in your ass for an extra charge. Fellatio was extra if you wanted swallowing, but the house recommendation of having your prostitute suck on a mint lollipop before sucking you was no extra charge. Various versions of the 69 were available, as was something called "pissette sur la quequette." "Quequette" is a French word a little boy would use to refer to his penis, something like "willy" in English, and a pissette is a spray bottle. So make of that what you will. 


Flamboyant Diva Sarah Bernhardt Slept In A Coffin And Had A Pet Alligator

Sarah Bernhardt was perhaps the foremost stage actress of the late 19th century. Born to a courtesan in 1844, she was an international star of both stage and screen who was well known for her larger-than-life, fabulously eccentric personality off stage. She famously kept a coffin in her bedroom - she liked to study for roles in the coffin and slept in it at least once. She also collected exotic animals. When she toured America, she supposedly purchased a pet alligator she named Ali-Gaga. Ali-Gaga slept in Sarah's bed, but died young from an unhealthy diet of milk and champagne.

Bernhardt was unconventional in all things, even her choice of stage roles. She once played Hamlet, a performance that was recorded as a silent film



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Thu, 26 Jan 2017 10:05:09 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/insane-paris-prostitution-stories/setareh-janda
<![CDATA[12 Insanely Violent Stories From Ancient Aztec Mythology]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/violent-gruesome-and-crazy-stories-from-aztec-mythology/setareh-janda

Aztec mythology is made up of crazy, bloody, and one-of-a-kind stories. If myths reveal a lot about the culture that produced them, then it should come as no surprise that Aztec religion, like ancient Aztec civilization, incorporated elements of gore and violence. The Aztecs were infamous for their use of blood sacrifice during religious, civic, and political rituals. Given these violent practices, Aztec myths run the gambit from the peculiar to the downright bloody. 

These crazy Aztec myths employ a cast of some of the most important gods in their universe. As with crazy and disturbing Greek myths, bloody Aztec myths feature a pantheon of noble, jealous, and vengeful gods that take up insane rivalries, take on various forms, and use humans as playthings. Aztecs, like other civilizations, had their own creation story; however, in their version, the gods repeatedly built and destroyed the world, and humanity suffered.

These stories were not just for entertainment - they also served a purpose by explaining the world, extolling culturally specific virtues and values, teaching particular lessons, and even imagining a mythic history of the Aztec people. These violent Aztec myths demonstrate how complex and culturally rich that world was, especially since each story had several versions. And, at the end of the day, they are also just plain fun to read.


12 Insanely Violent Stories From Ancient Aztec Mythology,

Xipe Totec Cloaked Himself In The Flayed Skin Of A Dead Person

Xipe Totec was probably one of the grossest gods to behold - his trademark look was draping himself in the flayed skin of a dead person. The gesture was supposed to symbolize rebirth and springtime - as in, sloughing off the old to anticipate the new - and this meant that important Aztec priests wore the flayed skin of a sacrificial victim for an entire month to honor this god. 


Tlaloc Unleashed A Burning Rain Of Death To Destroy the World

According to the Aztecs, the world was created and destroyed several times over. During the so-called "third sun," or third world, Tezcatlipoca kidnapped Xochiquetzal, Tlaloc the rain god's wife. Tlaloc was so devastated that he gave no rain to the earth - instead, he rained fire down onto the earth, destroying the world yet again and forcing the gods to create a new one.


Tezcatlipoca Challenged Passers-by To Rip Out His Heart

Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl's chief rival, was highly powerful and destructive. He was also said to roam the earth at night in various forms, such as a jaguar. According to one story, one of his earthly forms was as a wandering skeleton with a beating heart. He would meet passers-by and challenge them to take his heart out of his chest. If they succeeded, he promised to grant them riches and fame. 


Tlaloc's Favorite Tears Were The Tears Of Dying Children

Since they were an agriculturally based society, the Aztecs regarded their rain god with the utmost reverence and respect. It was the god Tlaloc, they believed, who made the rains come or go. So Aztecs made sacrifices to Tlaloc with gusto. The rain god's preferred sacrificial victims were maidens and children - and, according to their stories, the more tears dying children cried, the better the coming rainy season would be


Huitzilopochtli Tore Out His Nephew's Heart And Flung It Into A Lake

During the Aztecs' continual wanderings in search of a homeland, they were supposedly led by their god Huitzilopochtli. Tensions in the wandering tribe erupted, however, when Huitzilopochtli's sister Malinalxochitl made things awkward by practicing witchcraft. Under Huitzilopochtli's orders, the Aztecs abandoned Malinalxochitl and her followers in the night, covering their trail so that they could not be followed.

Years later, Malinalxochitl's son Copil - bent on avenging his abandoned mother - tracked down Huitzilopochtli and his followers. Though they began to fight, Huitzilopochtli was a great warrior and could not be defeated. Thus, when he reached Copil, he tore the boy's still-beating heart out of his chest and flung it into the nearby lake, where it landed on an island. A cactus sprung from Copil's heart-blood, and an eagle with a serpent in its mouth perched atop the cactus. The great Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was built on this, the site of Copil's spilled blood, the cactus, and the serpent-munching eagle.


A Crocodile Bit Off Tezcatlipoca's Foot

One creation myth imagines that rivals Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlicopa teamed up for the greater good: to create earth in a water-covered world. They knew the only way to do this was to create the earth out of Cipactli, a giant crocodile. To lure her into their trap, Tezcatlipoca dangled his foot into the water to attract her, and she quickly bit it off. The two gods then captured the crocodile and created the earth. Tezcatlipoca thus gave his foot for the world. 


Xochiquetzal Was Carried To The Underworld And Brutally Raped

Like the Greeks, the Aztecs had their own troubling myth revolving around a fertility goddess, the underworld, and a brutal rape.

Xochiquetzal was the beautiful goddess of flowers and fertility. She was so beautiful, in fact, that the god Tezcatlipoca became obsessed with her the moment he saw her. Though he tried to woo her, she politely refused, since she was in love with her husband, the god Tlaloc. Tezcatlipoca did not take no for an answer; he grabbed Xochiquetzal and carried her off to the underworld where he brutally raped her. While Tezcatlipoca rested after the terrible act, Xochiquetzal managed to escape and return to earth.


Huitzilopochtli Used A Fiery Snake-Sword To Behead His Sister And Kill His 400 Brothers

The earth goddess Coatlicue had lived a prolific life. She had given birth to 400 sons and one daughter and was now an old woman. One day, while on a hilltop, she was impregnated by a floating ball of feathers. When her 401 children found out, they were angry at Coatlicue for her apparent promiscuity. So they met and determined that she needed to be punished by death. 

Coatlicue's unborn child heard the schemes of his treacherous half-siblings. Desperate to protect his mother, a fully-formed Huitzilopochtli exploded out of his mother's womb, dressed in full battle gear and ready to take on his treacherous siblings - he even wielded a flaming snake-sword of death. He beheaded his sister and held up her severed head so that she could watch him tear apart her bloody body. He then chased his 400 brothers to the heavens and tossed his sister's head to the sky - a sister moon to all the stars in the sky.


Quetzalcoatl Got Drunk And Hooked Up With His Sister

One of the most popular, virtuous gods was Quetzalcoatl. Despite his status, Quetzalcoatl might've also suffered the world's worst morning after.

One night, his brother-rival Tezcatlipoca got Quetzalcoatl ridiculously drunk off pulque, the Aztecs' drink of choice. While his brother was drunk and out of senses, Tezcatlipoca proceeded to trick Quetzalcoatl into having sex with their sister, Quetzalpetlatl. When he woke up the next morning, Quetzalcoatl was understandably upset and embarrassed by the incestuous turn of events, so he sailed away on a raft of snakes

Aztecs believed that Quetzalcoatl would return to them someday, and so they anticipated his second coming.


Huitzilopochtli Killed A Princess And Made His Priest Wear Her Skin

According to mythology, the Aztecs were initially a wandering people without a home, and they spent many years in search of one. Huitzilopochtli was one of the Aztec's most revered deities since he was the god that led them to Tenochtitlan, their capital city.

In the middle of their wanderings, Huitzilopochtli and his followers came upon the city of Culhuacan. Achitometl, the king, was thrilled to have a god at his court. But Huitzilopochtli, being a god of war, wanted to start trouble with the peaceful Culhuacans. So, he decided to play a cruel trick on the king.

Huitzilopochtli offered to marry the king's daughter so that she would become a goddess. Achitometl could not believe his good fortune and enthusiastically accepted - he immediately sent the princess off with the god. Huitzilopochtli then brought her to the temple; but instead of marrying her, he sacrificed her, flayed her, and gave her skin to a priest to wear. 

When the Aztecs invited Achitometl - who expected a wedding - into the temple, he saw his daughter's skin hanging loosely on the priest, ran from the horrible scene in grief, and ordered his troops to attack the Aztecs. They in turn fled the city. 



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Fri, 16 Dec 2016 04:50:34 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/violent-gruesome-and-crazy-stories-from-aztec-mythology/setareh-janda
<![CDATA[What Happened Immediately After the Bombs Were Dropped on Japan]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/aftermath-of-atomic-bombs-japan/christopher-myers

At the end of WWII, Japan was in nearly total devastation, and the civilians who remained loyal to their country and Emperor were having a particularly difficult time. But when the Japanese military said "fight on," there really wasn't any doubt that the order would be followed. In an effort to put an end to these shenanigans while there were still some people left living on the Japanese home islands, the US decided to roll up with Little Boy and Fat Man.

Those were the names of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. The aftermath of the atomic bombs can only be described as complete devastation. After Hiroshima was bombed, chaos ensued. The immediate aftermath of the Nagasaki bomb was equally chaotic but in a much different way.

In total, the two bombs killed an estimated 103,000 people as a result of the blast itself, the ensuing fires, and long-term radiation poisoning, according to the World Nuclear Association. The Hiroshima bomb is believed to have killed 45,000 people in the first day alone. That was just under 1/5 of the city's total population. The death count in Nagasaki was smaller, but 22,000 on the first day of the bomb dropping is nothing to scoff at. Between the bombs and the multitude of other bad things raining down on Japan, the immediate postwar years were pretty brutal times.


What Happened Immediately After the Bombs Were Dropped on Japan,

The Crew Of The Enola Gay Was Greeted With A Party

Meanwhile, as ripples of horror and devastation shook the Japanese community, the Enola Gay returned to the air base on Tinian Island (in the Northern Marianas) where an excited crowd awaited it. Top military brass had flown in from Guam to greet the crew. Pilot Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After the ceremony, the crew was told by General LeMay, "Kids, go eat, take a good shower, and sleep as much as you want!"


The Japanese Didn't Believe Truman's Announcement That The Bomb Had Been Dropped

The first official word the Japanese received that the bomb that hit Hiroshima was indeed an atomic bomb came from US President Truman himself. In the afternoon of the day the bomb fell, Truman announced the news from the USS Augusta. He announced that atomic bombs like the one dropped were already in production, and even more powerful ones were under development. "It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe," Truman said. "The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who have brought war to the Far East." Truman reiterated the demands of the Potsdam declaration, threatening the utter destruction of Japan if they did not unconditionally surrender.

In response, the Japanese military immediately convened an "Atomic Bomb Countermeasures Committee," which on August 7, came to the woefully incorrect conclusion that the Americans were bluffing. The Japanese still did not believe that the Americans had succeeded in producing an atomic bomb, let alone a distribution method to get it across the Pacific. They concluded that the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was definitely a special type of bomb, but it wasn't an atomic one.


All Lines of Communication Went Dark

The bomb knocked out all direct lines of communication to and from Hiroshima, so it was hours before the Japanese Military had any idea what had happened. Radio stations had gone off air, and the main-line telegraph had stopped working. The military was puzzled, knowing that a large attack would have been picked up by radar. They sent out a young officer to fly to the city and investigate.

When the plane was 100 miles from the city, the officer spotted a large cloud of smoke rising in the sky. Below, the remains of the city still burned in the afternoon sun. After circling the city, the officer landed south of it and began organizing relief efforts, still not understanding what exactly had transpired.

The first reports of the event came into Tokyo from towns neighboring Hiroshima. People described a "sinister cloud," an "enormous explosion," a "terrible flash," and a "heavy roar." Descriptions of the city's total destruction were almost beyond belief.


People Thought They Had Died And Gone To Hell

The destruction wrought by the bomb was so inconceivable that many people thought that they were in Hell. Others thought that the world had ended. With dead bodies, fire, and destruction as far as the eye could see, such a conclusion was not far off the mark. Survivors of the atomic bomb are called Hibakusha in Japan, and their eyewitness accounts shed some light into the utter horror of the scene:

"Near the bridge there were a whole lot of dead people... Sometimes there were ones who came to us asking for a drink of water. They were bleeding from their faces and from their mouths and they had glass sticking in their bodies. And the bridge itself was burning furiously... The details and the scenes were just like Hell," a six-year-old boy recounted.

A protestant minister explained that: "the feeling I had was that everyone was dead. The whole city was destroyed... I thought this was the end of Hiroshima - of Japan - of humankind... This was God's judgment on man."


First Came The Blast That Tore Bodies Apart

At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, the citizens of Hiroshima were just starting their day under a clear, beautiful sky. Unbeknownst to them, the Enola Gay had just unloaded the Little Boy atomic bomb, which was plummeting toward the unsuspecting city. When the bomb reached 1,900 feet above Shima Surgical Hospital... bang. A flash of light 10 times brighter than the sun lit up the city, blinding those unlucky enough to be staring at it.

Those within the immediate blast radius were the lucky ones; they died instantly. Some were instantly incinerated, leaving behind shadows burned into the very ground beneath them, referred to as nuclear shadows. In the most famous nuclear shadow (shown above), a person was sitting on the steps of a bank, waiting for it to open. These steps were later moved to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for preservation, where they can be viewed today.

Almost instantly, shock waves rippled through the town. As Life Magazine put it in 1946: "In the following waves people's bodies were terribly squeezed, then their internal organs ruptured. Then the blast blew the broken bodies at 500 to 1,000 miles per hour through the flaming, rubble-filled air. Practically everybody within a radius of 6,500 feet was killed or seriously injured and all buildings crushed or disemboweled."


A Black Rain Fell

In both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about 30-40 minutes after the bomb exploded, a black rain began to fall down like a scene out of some horror film. The radioactive isotopes, combined with debris and airborne particles thrown high into the air by the bomb, had mixed with water vapor and condensed. The deadly, radioactive rain fell on the unsuspecting victims bellow, some of whom were so thirsty that they attempted to drink it.


The Second Bomb Dropped On Nagasaki The Same Day The Soviet Union Declared War On Japan

In response to Japan's continued refusal to surrender, a mission to drop a second atomic bomb was planned. It occurred on August 9, the very day the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The Soviets launched their attack on Manchurian China in the wee hours of the morning. Becauce of their superior size, force, and weaponry, by the time the second atomic bomb dropped around 10:58 am, the Soviets had routed major parts of the Japanese Kwangtung Army.


The News Reported The Story Around The World

The way most people around the world would have first heard about the bombing would have been when it was reported by the BBC or another news agency. The news reports referenced Truman's announcement, explaining that the atomic bomb was 2,000 times more powerful than the largest bomb used to date.

When the first reports ran, it was still impossible to determine the extent of the damage due to the massive clouds of smoke and debris above the city. Still, the reports explained that a American B-29 Superfortress, called the Enola Gay, dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima at 8:15 in the morning in the world's first use of the weapon.


People Began Suffering Radiation Poisoning

In the minutes and hours after the bombs went off, survivors began to display the symptoms of radiation poisoning. Nausea, bleeding, loss of hair, and death were common. Flash burns, cataracts, malignant tumors, and a susceptibility to leukemia also occurred.

Unfortunately, the bomb had wiped out 90% of medical personnel in the Hiroshima, and treatment supplies quickly ran out. Many of the survivors had to fend for themselves, dying on the roadside where they fell. By nightfall, they were suffering from dehydration, and the dying could be heard crying out for water across the city.


Then Came The Firestorm That Incinerated A City

The atomic burst was estimated to have reached over a million degrees Celsius, igniting the air surrounding it on its descent. The fireball, which began at 840 feet in diameter, also kept expanding on its way down, a small sun engulfing the sky above the city. The intense levels of heat and radiation from the fireball began to light everything in the vicinity on fire. And - before the bomb was even done exploding - a massive firestorm began to engulf the city.

The intense firestorm completely incinerated everything within 4.4 miles of ground zero. This was not like other fire-bombing raids, however. In conventional fire-bombing attacks, the hollowed out shells of buildings remained standing. In Hiroshima, there was nothing left, save a few pieces of steel reinforced concrete. Even modern, well-constructed buildings were completely destroyed.

Looking back at the mushroom cloud billowing up above the unfolding devastation, co-pilot of the Enola Gay, Captain Robert Lewis, commented, "My God, what have we done?"



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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 05:55:42 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/aftermath-of-atomic-bombs-japan/christopher-myers
<![CDATA[10 Horrifying Medical Procedures Doctors Actually Practiced In The 19th Century]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/horrifying-medical-procedures/amandasedlakhevener

The 19th century is known for many things, including the reign of Britain's Queen Victoria and the US Civil War. Coming on the heels of the Enlightenment and firmly encapsulating the Industrial Revolution,  the 19th century saw the advent of many new innovations, some of which affected the now-discredited medicinal practices that were common during this period. These gruesome medical practices included everything from the ingestion of poisonous substances to the application of leeches. Another horrible treatment from the 1800s was bloodletting. If you're sitting there and asking yourself what bloodletting is, then just read on to find out... 


10 Horrifying Medical Procedures Doctors Actually Practiced In The 19th Century,

Leeches Were Used For Pretty Much Everything

Leeches were used up through the 19th century as a viable medical treatment. One British medical text from the period recommended them for: "acne, asthma, cancer, cholera, coma, convulsions, diabetes, epilepsy, gangrene, gout, herpes, indigestion, insanity, jaundice, leprosy, ophthalmia, plague, pneumonia, scurvy, smallpox, stroke, tetanus, tuberculosis, and for some one hundred other diseases." Leeches' saliva contains an anesthetic compound, which means that a patient wouldn't feel them on his or her skin as the leech removed blood from the body. Leeches tend to drink until they are full, and then they will detach on their own. And, apparently, they were good for pretty much everything.


Massaging The Skull Was Used To Diagnose Mental Illness

Phrenology is more weird than horrifying, but it was a popular way of diagnosing psychiatric ailments during the 19th century. This practice involved touching a patient's skull, feeling for all of the lumps, bumps, and misshapen areas. The face would sometimes be studied as well. In theory, both the features of the skull and the face could tell a doctor exactly what was wrong with the patient. 


They Took Mercury To Treat STDs

Calomel was a drug given to people in order to purge their bodies of whatever was making them sick. In general, it was used to kill bacteria, and it was especially prevalent in the treatment of STDs. Unfortunately, the main ingredient in Calomel is mercury, which is extremely poisonous. Some of the side effects of this drug include bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, shortness of breath, and even brain damage. But hey, you don't have an STD anymore.


They Gave Babies Cocktails Of Alcohol And Morphine

The rise of pre-made medicinal concoctions was one of the hallmarks of the 19th century. Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup is a good example of this. The "potion" was sold over the counter at pharmacies as a treatment for infants who were teething or colicky. The two main ingredients in the syrup - which was sold from 1845 up through 1930 - were alcohol and morphine. While neither were fatal (unless too much was given), it is disturbing to think that the children were calmed by this treatment due to its extremely sedative ingredients. 


They Drilled Holes In Skulls To Improve General Health

Trepanning is a medical treatment that involved cutting holes in the skull with a circular device in order to improve a patient's general health. If trepanning is done right, the brain usually isn't touched, making this procedure quite different from the brain scrambling that is lobotomy. Interestingly, trepassing is still used today to treat skull fractures and brain swelling, as opposed to its "general" use in the 19th century. Moreover, during the 1800s, there were no antibiotics, few sterilized surgical tools, and only the beginnings of painkillers, making this treatment rather horrific. 


They Used Lard To Deliver Babies

Up until the 20th century, the rates of infants (and sometimes mothers) who died during the act of childbirth were very high. There was a disease called "childbed fever" that afflicted mothers whose doctor's did not wash their hands and spread germs from one patient to the next. 

However, there was also some sage medical wisdom in the period that instructed women on how to best grease up the birth canal, especially if they were going to be delivering their baby from the comfort (and relative safety) of their own home. John Gunn's 1861 manual Gunn's New Domestic Physician stated:

"The parts of generation during labor should always be well oiled or greased with lard, as it greatly assists and mitigates the suffering, and lubricates the parts of passage."


Surgery And Amputations Were Carried Out Without Anesthesia

Although surgery is still a common phenomenon that's probably not going anywhere anytime soon, imagine it in a period before antibiotics and general anesthesia. To be fair, doctors had started administering chloroform by the 19th century, which rendered a patient unconscious, but is wasn't a popular option, even during limb amputations. In addition, the painkiller morphine existed, but it was often in scarce supply. During the US Civil War, the only way to save an arm or a leg that had been injured badly was to amputate it as quickly as possible. This was a risky procedure conducted in field hospitals not far from the battlefield, and cleanliness wasn't always a concern.  


The Drained Blood In Order To Balance The Body Out

Phlebotomy, also known as bloodletting, was a normal medical procedure during the 19th century. At the time, doctors still believed that the human body was made up of the four humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, and they thought that illnesses were caused by an overabundance of one of them. Therefore, removing blood from the body would reduce the imbalance and cure the issue. However, it wasn't just doctors who performed the procedure - some barbers placed it on the list of things they could do, alongside haircuts and shaves. 


The Sprayed Wounds Down With Carbolic Acid

As the 19th century wore on, doctors began to realize that disinfectants were a medical necessity. They used these compounds, including the very potent and toxic carbolic acid, to sterilize their surgical tools and to clean wounds. The problem with this is the fact that carbolic acid causes third-degree burns when applied directly to the skin. It is also deadly when swallowed. 


Lobotomies Were All The Rage For Psychiatric Patients

Although the lobotomy is primarily thought of as a 20th-century practice, it was actually invented in the 1880s, making it a product of the 19th century. Gottlieb Burkhardt, a European doctor, practiced this "treatment" on psychiatric patients, cutting into the frontal lobes of their brains to cure them. It was believed that this part of the brain contained the "seat of reason." Burkhardt's methods were considered to be barbaric, and his fellow doctors did not think highly of him at the time. However, the lobotomy has never fully gone out of fashion, resurging in usage at various moments since its inception.



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Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:55:36 PDT http://www.ranker.com/list/horrifying-medical-procedures/amandasedlakhevener
<![CDATA[A Visual History Through 24 American Military Uniforms]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/evolution-of-american-military-uniforms-throughout-history/daveesons

The history of the American army uniform is a fascinating subject. You might wonder how the military went from wearing tri-corn hats to using Kevlar. After nearly 20 years of collecting original historic military uniforms and equipment, reading books, talking to historians, and doing research, I have realized that all uniforms descend from others in one way or another, somewhat like a family tree. 

For the sake of clarity and coherence, this list will focus on the campaign (combat) clothing and personal equipment of the average enlisted soldier in the United States Army from the American Revolution to the present.

The history of all American army uniforms for both men and women is too vast to condense on this platform as it includes the history of the cavalry, artillery, dragoons, medical personnel, scouts, officers, engineers, dress uniforms, other specialists, and privately purchased uniforms in the army. Equally vast are the uniforms and equipment of the United States Marines, the Navy, Special Forces, the Coast Guard, and the Air Force.

Now, enjoy the pictorial history of the American army combat uniform...


A Visual History Through 24 American Military Uniforms,

The War of 1812: Late War Grey Short Jackets

As the War of 1812 progressed and the Americans realized that it was going to be a difficult fight, resources became scarce. To cut costs and production time, a waist-length, gray roundabout/shell jacket began to be issued when the older pre-war and war time blue wool coatees ran low. 

The expediency model short gray roundabout jacket is pictured above during the Battle of Chippewa. 

Equipment seems to have not changed significantly in this period. 


Revolution! The Continental Army

The American Revolution flung colonial Americans into war without a universal, standard uniform. As a result, clothing and equipment varied greatly. The ideal basic uniform and equipment kit consisted of:

  • Knee-length navy blue coat with red facings
  • White or off-white breeches
  • A linen or cotton pullover shirt
  • A waistcoat (vest) of cotton, linen, or even wool

Civilian and hunting clothes were also used due to shortages. A tri-cornered hat was ideally used, but a wide variety of similar military and civilian headgear was worn. 

The most common long arms were the British Brown Bess flintlock musket. Other weaponry might include:

  • French flintlock muskets
  • Hunting rifles (muskets) 
  • Leather cartridge boxes with leather slings (others used a "belly box" cartridge pouch carried on a belt)
  • Cotton or linen haversacks
  • A triangular socket bayonet and scabbard with sling

 


The Plains Wars: 1866 To 1891

The unexpected suffering during the American Civil War affected military thinking, which then affected uniform and equipment development. From 1866 to the late 1870s, supplying the same uniform to each soldier was difficult and soldiers were often clad in mixed uniform pieces. 

The four-button sack coat, forage cap, and sky blue trousers continued in service until the early 1870s, when they began to be phased out for the 1872 and 1874 fatigue uniforms. 

The short-lived 1872 fatigue blouse is a strange and uncommon garment. Made to fit loosely, this nine-button, single-breasted tunic was entirely pleated, perhaps as an experimental uniform that would allow for more movement for the soldier. Very little information about it survives and it seems to have been disliked. Therefore, it likely had a short life in the history of American military uniforms.

By 1874, the ideal US army infantry uniform was meant to include the following: 

  • 1874 five button fatigue tunic
  • 1874 sky blue dismounted trousers
  • 1850s Civil War era brogans (short boots) 
  • Military issue or private purchased shirt
  • 1874 forage kepi, 1873 Andrew’s hat or 1876 black campaign hat. 
  • 1873 Springfield trapdoor rifle. 
  • 1874 black leather waist belt and rectangular "U.S." belt plate. 
  • Leather "McKeever" pattern black cartridge box
  • 1873 socket bayonet, black metal scabbard and black leather swivel frog with brass "U.S." or state rosette
  • 1872 two-piece mess kit
  • 1878 canvas and leather knapsack
  • Hagner pattern black leather cartridge box, worn on the waistbelt
  • 1874 canvas haversack with Chambers pattern sling
  • 1872 canteen with cotton duck canvas cover and linen sling

Spanish-American War, Phase II: The 1898 Khaki Uniform

In the spring of 1898, it was almost immediately apparent to the government and the army that the 1887/1889 blue wool uniform ensemble was unsuitable for the tropical climate of Cuba. It was the beginning of the end of the blue combat uniform.

Loosely patterned after the British khaki drill tunic (seen during the Second Anglo-Boer War), the pattern 1898 tunic broke away from the tradition of issuing enlisted soldiers uniforms that were different than officers'. The tunic came with a matching pair of cotton breeches that reached halfway below the knee and laced up. These may also have been the first garments to be worn with a belt rather than suspenders.

  • Early pattern 1898 khaki tunic with blue facings and attached cotton belt
  • Matching pair of khaki trousers and suspenders
  • Pattern 1898 campaign hat
  • Pattern 1892 campaign shoe and 1897 canvas lace-up gaiters

Equipment basically stayed the same as in the 1880s. Soldiers were now armed with the .30 caliber Krag-Jorgensen bolt action rifle. A slightly larger 1898 haversack and the Krag-Jorgensen bayonet and scabbard with folding wire clasp were added to the kit.


The Great American Civil War: 1861 To 1865

It is a common misconception that during the American Civil War, the northern Federal forces strictly wore blue and the southern Confederate forces strictly wore gray. The truth is much more colorful, figuratively and literally

The outbreak of war in April of 1861 saw enormous fanfare, pageantry, and romanticism associated with the drama of war. Hundreds of newspapers and broadsides ran printed sketches of dashing young officers charging into battle with shimmering sabers. Because of this enthusiasm and bravado, the regular army and militia units went to war clad in uniforms ranging from drab and simple to flashy and intricate. Union army regiments wore standard blue uniforms, gray militia uniforms, zouave uniforms that were influenced by the French North African colonial troops, and over a dozen other uniform designs. It is far too expansive to go into in detail here. 

The regular US forces went to war wearing the pre-war knee-length Prussian blue frock coat and hardee hat. Additionally, the more common four-button sack coat and sky blue trousers were issued by the millions with a more practical forage cap that was styled after the French army kepi. 

The older white buff leather equipment had already begun to be phased out by this time in favor for a set of black leather and tarred canvas equipment.  The ideal Union army uniform for infantry was meant to be as follows:

  • 1858 four-button Prussian blue sack coat, knee-length frock coat or short dark blue shell jacket
  • 1858 pattern sky blue, wool dismounted foot trousers
  • Military issue white linen or cotton pullover shirt
  • 1855 navy blue forage cap or McDowell pattern forage cap
  • Black hardee hat or black slouch hat. 
  • Dismounted, sky blue, wool greatcoat
  • Rough-out leather "Jefferson" pattern brogans (short boots) 
  • 1855 black leather waist belt with second pattern "U.S." ovular belt plate
  • Federal issue tarred canvas haversack and sling
  • .57 or .69 caliber black leather cartridge belt with oval "U.S." belt plate
  • Black leather sling for the cartridge box with circular federal eagle plate
  • 1857 triangular spike socket bayonet with leather scabbard and black loop "frog"
  • 1858 bullseye canteen with a sky blue, dark blue or brown wool cover and white linen or leather sling
  • Tin drinking mug

The US-Mexican War: 1846 To 1848

When James K. Polk bullied Mexico into war in 1846, the army had been transitioning over from flintlock muskets to faster and better quality percussion cap long arms. This change began to affect the uniform and the personal equipment kit. The ideal infantry uniform and kit included the following:

  • Pattern 1833 sky blue shell jacket
  • Sky blue broadfall front foot trousers
  • Enlisted pattern 1839 wheel cap
  • Privately purchased shirt 
  • 1822 pattern boots or low quarter lace up ankle boots 
  • 1842 Springfield musket or 1808 flintlock musket
  • 1839 or 1842 black leather cartridge belt and white leather sling
  • White cotton haversack
  • Triangular socket bayonet with black leather scabbard and white leather frog 
  • White buff leather waist belt and first pattern ovular ‘U.S.’ belt plate 
  • Tarred canvas haversack and army issue red wool blanket
  • Black leather percussion cap box
  • Tin drinking mug

1814 To The 1830s: Tailcoats To Shell Jackets

After the war with Britain was over, the US Army collected itself and returned to producing coattees, but without the red trim and with a somewhat shorter coattail in the back. The dark gray trousers continued in service. 

  • The 1825 dark blue coatee, which replaced the war time 1814 blue coattee
  • A privately purchased shirt
  • White broadfall cotton trousers followed by 
  • Sky blue or dark grey broadfall front trousers
  • Pattern 1822 lace up boots and low quarter lace up shoes 

Equipment seems to have not changed significantly in this period. 


The War Of 1812: The Age Of The Shako Headdress

The young United States was ill-prepared to fight Great Britain in 1812, but US regulars and state militia units went to war with what they had on hand. Substitute clothing and equipment items were used when no other alternatives were available. The ideal basic uniform and equipment kit consisted of:

  • Model 1812 blue and red coatee
  • Model 1812 wool-felt shako
  • Broadfall-front white cotton trousers
  • Gray wool broad fall front trousers
  • Tarred canvas button up spatterdash gaiters
  • Low-quarter lace up shoes. 
  • Shoes and lace up boots, brought from home or purchased
  • Model 1813 blue wool coatee
  • Model 1813 leather shako
  • Cotton or linen shirt
  • Models 1797 and 1808 flintlock muskets
  • Lherbette knapsack
  • Wooden or metal canteen, cork and linen or leather sling
  • 1808 leather cartridge box and leather sling. 
  • Cotton haversack and sling with pewter buttons
  • Triangular spiked bayonet with scabbard and sling

The Second Seminole War

In an attempt to remain free from American control, the Seminole people (made up of various individual Native American tribes) of the southeastern United States went to war against the United States again in 1835 under the leadership of Osceola.

The practicality of the short, gray wool jacket of the War of 1812 was evident and in the years following the war, the United States government returned its focus to expanding its power into the lands it obtained as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. 

As the army was sent into the wilderness to set up forts or protect traders, the densely wooded forests and swamp lands forced both US regulars and militiamen to resort to guerrilla warfare. The tailcoat proved to be unsuitable, particularly during the First Seminole War, because of the long coattails in the back, whereas a short jacket was easier to move in. Additionally, it was easier and cheaper to make. 

Slowly, the tailcoat as well as the tall leather shako were semi-retired and retained only as a parade and dress uniform for special or official occasions.

Beginning in the mid-1820s, a new style of headwear was adopted: the 1825 pinwheel forage cap. It was a low-sitting, navy blue wool cap with a wide, stiff crown, much like a pinwheel. It had a button on the top of the crown with stitching emanating out from the center. The bill was made of leather and square-shaped. 

During periods of less large-scale military activity, the army was often reduced in size, while also being relatively spread out. Often, regular and militia units were clad in uniforms that were mixed and matched. 

It was also around this time that a taller boot was adopted for the army, the pattern 1822, that was black in color, rough-out leather with a square toe and made on straight lasts. 

The ideal standard infantry uniform was meant to be as follows: 

  • Pattern 1825 pinwheel forage cap, navy blue
  • Leather folding forage cap
  • Pattern 1831 sky blue roundabout shell jacket with white trim
  • Sky blue dismounted foot trousers
  • 1822 boots
  • Shirt brought from home or purchased on the market
  • 1808 flintlock musket
  • White three-button cotton haversack and sling
  • Triangular bayonet, scabbard and leather sling
  • 1820s pattern black leather cartridge box and leather sling 
  • Military issue blanket worn as a ‘blanket roll’ across the body

The Spanish-American War, Phase I: The 1889 Uniform

Fighting in the deserts, mountains, and forests of the West against the indigenous people of America affected military thinking and a new uniform began to be designed, produced, and distributed. This ensemble was somewhat more practical for guerilla warfare and used elements of uniforms that were to come in the next 40 years. 

  • Patterns 1885 or 1887/1889 five button Prussian blue tunic
  • 1885 mid blue dismounted trousers
  • 1887 canvas lace-up gaiters
  • Pattern 1881 and 1892 campaign low quarter shoe
  • M1883 blue flannel, three-button pullover shirt
  • 1883 or 1889 campaign hats 
  • 1895 pillbox garrison cap
  • 1878 knapsack, 1885 blue/gray blanket and 1880s shelter half (half a tent)
  • 1881 Mills-Orndorff cotton webbing cartridge belt in dark blue or khaki
  • 1878 haversack and wide black leather detachable sling
  • 1878 canteen and narrow black leather detachable sling 
  • 1878 two-piece mess kit with tin drinking mug

The same 1870s bayonet was still in use.

 



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Fri, 27 Jan 2017 05:28:31 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/evolution-of-american-military-uniforms-throughout-history/daveesons
<![CDATA[12 Historically Inaccurate Details From History Channel's 'Vikings']]> http://www.ranker.com/list/inaccuracies-in-history-s-vikings/theodoros-karasavvas

When viewers are watching a film or TV show, they really shouldn’t take for granted the “reality” presented in its plot. Actually, you would have to be really naive to do so. However, there are times when you really don’t know if you should believe what you’re seeing or not, especially if the channel you’re watching is called History. One such case is the History Channel’s Vikings, a historical drama that is supposed to be loosely based on facts and Norse sagas.

Despite the undeniable awesomeness of the series, the crazy-good acting, and the immense success of the show, there are some hilarious inaccuracies that any history buff can easily spot. Does this mean that the show isn’t good? Hell no! The show is truly good, and if it hasn’t gotten your attention yet, be advised that you should start watching it immediately. Just make sure you don’t take everything you see in the series literally because, as the following list shows, there are issues with the historical authenticity of the plot at times. 


12 Historically Inaccurate Details From History Channel's 'Vikings',

Christians Didn’t Use Crucifixion As Punishment Or Execution

Many significant things took place in the fourth episode of Season 2, including Athelstan’s crucifixion, which, no matter how you look at it, is WRONG. Thankfully, Athelstan didn’t die because King Ecbert ultimately saved his life, but it's likely the case that - because of that wildly inaccurate scene - the show lost many religious fans. See, no matter how hard you might try, you won’t find a single recorded incident of the early Church in Britain using crucifixion as a tool of punishment for apostates. And if you think about it, why would you place a heathen in the same position as the person you worship? Especially during a period when Christians were trying to peacefully proselytize the pagans all around them. If history's any indication, you wouldn't.


Rollo And Ragnar Probably Never Met And Were Definitely Not Brothers

Rollo’s character is based on the Norwegian Viking Gange-Rolf, the man who became the first ruler of Normandy. He is recorded as being the first Norse leader to settle in Frankia, and he continued to reign over Normandy until at least 928 CE. His descendants became known as the Normans, lending their name to the region of Normandy in France. He is also the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, also known as William I of England, which means that Rollo is one of the ancestors of the present-day British royal family. He was born in 846 CE and died in 930, so not only was he not Ragnar’s brother (he also didn’t know Ragnar in real life), but he also gets included in historical events that occurred before he was even born. 


Norse Men Were Not So Generous With Their Women

There's no doubt that ancient Norse society was male dominated. Accounts that exist from the period as well as the historical research that has been done on it generally corroborate this fact. Despite this, however, women were highly respected in Norse society and had great freedom, especially when compared to other European societies of that time. For example, they managed the family finances; widows could be rich and important landowners; and the law protected women from a wide range of unwanted attention. However, they did not participate in trading or raiding parties as the show depicts, and their role focused on the management of the household and farm in their husbands' absences.

The most blatant historical inaccuracy, however, is that, according to the series, Norse women slept around, cheated quite a bit, and their husbands had no problem sharing them with other men - who can forget when Ragnar asked Athelstan to have a threesome with him and his wife, Lagertha? - when, in fact, there were lists of penalties for offenses ranging from kissing to intercourse. So, it would be safe to say that what we see happen in the show in this instance is closer to the plot of a porn parody than what really went on back then. 


The Vikings Wore Helmets That The Show Totally Ignores

Any true fan of Vikings should feel relieved about the fact that Michael Hirst (the writer of the series) doesn’t present that ridiculous stereotypical image of the raiders wearing those funny little horned helmets, which it has been historically proven the Norsemen never wore in battle. In reality, those horned helmets were only used in religious ceremonies and for display.

However, Hirst falls into another trap and depicts the Vikings as fighting without wearing any helmets at all, which is simply wrong. Considering that most combat fatalities come from head wounds, the helmet has been the single most precious piece of armor for pretty much every warrior in history, and that doesn’t exclude the Vikings. One could claim that Hirst probably does this in order for the main heroes to be easily recognized by the viewers during a battle scene, but it’s still a historical inaccuracy since the famous raiders wore fighting helmets made from leather or iron.


According To The Show’s Timeline Ragnar Should Have Invented Time Travel

Fans of the series probably remember Ragnar and his crew raiding a monastery on Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the northeast coast of what is today England during the first season, a real raid that took place in 793 CE. For the record, this is seen by many contemporary historians as the beginning of the Viking Age. Then, in Season 3, Ragnar and his crew haven’t aged a tiny bit and attack Paris, a historical event that took place in 911 CE, nearly 120 years after the sack of Lindisfarne’s monastery. In other words, Ragnar and his fellow Vikings were either vampires, or they had invented a time travel machine that the history books don’t tell us about. 


The Vikings Didn’t Call Each Other “Viking”

During the Viking Age, the people of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden spoke a language called Old Norse, but there’s no historical evidence that they used the word Viking to ethnically identify each other. This, despite the fact that viewers see them proudly calling each other a Viking throughout the series. There are various theories as to how the word Viking came to be, but there are no credible historical sources that verify what the Vikings called themselves. What scholars know for a fact is that the people the Vikings invaded, such as the Saxons and the Franks, usually referred to them as Nords, Norsemen, Northmen, or Danes. In reality, the word Viking became popular worldwide for the first time during the Romantic era in the nineteenth century, when the study of Viking-age history became fashionable


Viking Clothing In The Show Is Completely Wrong

It’s an undeniable fact that the Vikings left very few images and written descriptions of their clothing and general fashion. What makes things even worse for people trying to recreate their clothes for TV is that archeological evidence is extremely limited as well. Thus, historians and researchers examining the evidence usually come to different conclusions. However, they would all agree that the Vikings didn’t dress with the kind of leather biker outfits that the show often depicts. Instead, they probably constructed their clothes from wool, using surprisingly complicated patterns with many pieces that needed to be cut out of the fabric and sewn back together. Also, they definitely didn’t limit their choice of color to black, brown, and gray as the show presents, but they instead loved vivid colors like blue, red, and yellow.


The Show’s Geography Is All Over The Place (Except Its Actual Location)

According to the Old Norse poetry and sagas from the Viking Age, the real Ragnar Lodbrok was the son of the Swedish King Sigurd Hring and a relative of the Danish king Gudfred. Logically, he probably lived in Sweden or Denmark. However, in the series, Ragnar’s kingdom is located in a deep fjord that looks exactly like the ones you would find on the west coast of Norway. What complicates things even more is that Denmark and Sweden do not have fjords like the one in the series.

In the eighth episode of the first season, viewers see Uppsala for the first time, and the temple of Odin is shown as a wooden stave church in the mountains. In reality, the temple was actually situated on flat land, while stave churches were a hallmark of Christian architecture from the 11th century onward. After spotting these geographical inaccuracies, the fact that the Vikings refer to the British Isles as “England” when this name didn’t even exist at the time shouldn’t surprise anyone. 


Pitched Battles Were As Rare As Chinese Cuisine For Vikings

In the show, viewers often see Vikings lining up on the battlefield, facing their enemies, and running at them like the ancient Greeks and Romans would have done. In reality, however, this way of fighting was very uncommon for them, as they’d rather go raiding and take their adversaries by surprise. Their war philosophy was based on speed and effective ambush, which was the main reason why they wouldn’t send many ships on their first raids and made surprise attacks. So, in order to move quickly during a raid, they did not wear much armor - as the show correctly highlights - and used long swords and axes for weapons. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Vikings never engaged in pitched battles; they did, but just not in the way the show often portrays.


Lagertha Wasn’t As Badass As The Series Portrays Her

Sorry to disappoint you guys and gals, but the whole concept of the “shieldmaiden” is based on Scandinavian folklore and myth, since there’s not even a single credible source that proves the existence of a group of Viking women who had chosen to fight as warriors. Sure, there’s archeological evidence that proves a number of women took part in some raids and battles, but this was a rare occurrence, and most historians speculate that their role in battle was limited. So they could never have compared to Lagertha in terms of fighting skill. In reality, Lagertha is pulled more from Scandinavian myth than she is from reality. 



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Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:51:38 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/inaccuracies-in-history-s-vikings/theodoros-karasavvas
<![CDATA[The 7 Stupidest Archaeological "Discoveries" In History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/archaeological-misunderstandings-and-mistakes/stephanroget

Archaeology is a hard gig - and not because of rolling boulders of doom or deadly snakes, as the Indiana Jones series would have you believe. Real archaeologists’ jobs consist of digging up stuff that may be millennia old, trying to determine its exact age, and then trying to make sense of it. Humanity still struggles to understand the world around us today, so why would trying to understand the world as it was thousands of years ago be any easier?

Inevitably, the sheer difficulty of archaeology has led to some slightly embarrassing wrong conclusions. These misunderstandings may be the result of an archaeologist’s own hubris, or malicious hoaxes, or just plain old human error. However the mistakes are made, they allow us a chance to laugh at the escapades of hapless researchers, but also to rethink just how much of what we accept about the past is actually true.


The 7 Stupidest Archaeological "Discoveries" In History,

Racist Ideology Resulted In Some Absurd "Research" On Great Zimbabwe

Many archaeological misconceptions are innocent errors, but occasionally they happen because of an individual’s own flaws, and that’s definitely the case with Great Zimbabwe. Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city that was discovered inside modern Zimbabwe, and was once the site of the capital for the mighty Kingdom of Zimbabwe. Of course, some racist archaeologists decided that Africans couldn’t possibly have constructed something so architecturally impressive, and so they sought out evidence of Great Zimbabwe’s European origins.

Karl Mauch thought he found it when he used the incredibly scientific method of comparing the smell of his pencil to that of the crossbeams uncovered at Great Zimbabwe, concluding that the beams must be made of Lebanese wood like his pencil was. Amazingly, many bought his argument, and it was awhile before Great Zimbabwe’s African origins were once again acknowledged.


Experts Hoped Nebraska Man's Tooth Proved He Was The Missing Link

The Nebraska Man is a silly story of archaeologists and anthropologists just getting too excited and way ahead of themselves. A single tooth was discovered in Nebraska in 1922 and was soon declared to belong to a newly-discovered bridge species between ape and man, dubbed Hesperopithecus, and purported as further proof of the theory of evolution. Hesperopithecus, it was thought, was a sort of “missing link,” hinting that mankind may have had its origins in North America after all. Embarrassingly, the tooth turned out to not even come from a primate, but from an ancient peccary (similar to a wild pig). Creationists now crow about this mix-up as a cautionary tale of the hubris of scientists.


Believers Hoped Bimini Road Would Lead Them To Atlantis

Bimini Road, despite its innocuous name, was once thought to be a literal path to Atlantis, the fabled lost city of the sea. A diver off the coast of North Bimini Island in the Bahamas discovered a series of stones that appeared to be a man-made path of some sort. The road stretched for about a half-mile, seemingly too long for any natural phenomenon. In the end, it turned out that it actually wasn’t too long to be a natural occurrence, because it was just that. That didn’t stop hundreds of people from speculating in the meantime that it must be a highway to a secret sunken kingdom.


Locals Still Claim The Kensington Runestone Proves Vikings Made It Across The US

There were signs from the very beginning that the Kensington Runestone wasn’t legitimate, but that didn’t stop people from wildly speculating that it was clear-cut evidence that Vikings had once fully colonized North America. Discovered in Minnesota, the stone appeared to contain Viking runes, although experts were quick to note that they were written in modern Swedish grammar, as if they had been run through some sort of runic Google Translate. Most believe that the stone's discoverer, Olof Ohman, forged it himself, but it has never been proven and locals still believe in its authenticity.


The Piri Reis Map Led Some To Imagine Columbus Had Discovered Antarctica

Sometimes what seems like an amazing discovery is really just somebody making stuff up. This was the case for the Piri Reis map, named after its creator, an Ottoman admiral and cartographer. The map, which came from the early 16th century, seemed to contain way more information about the world than any cartographer of the time had the right to know about. The map also claimed to have been inspired by Christopher Columbus’s maps, although this seems unlikely at best. The Piri Reis map even showed details of Antarctica, leading some to speculate that this was proof that Columbus or others had explored far more of the Earth than anyone thought possible.

In the end, the real explanation was much less exciting, as it seems that Piri Reis just made up his map based on sailors’ rumors of the time and his own imagination.


Scholars Tried For Centuries To Decipher The Runamo Ruins, Which Were Just Random Cracks In A Rock

The Runamo Inscription was thought to be a revolutionary find, but it just turned out to be an extraordinary case of wishful thinking. 

Located in Sweden, Runamo is a dolerite dike covered in a series of strange, vertical lines. In the 12th century, the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus claimed that the mysterious lines were ancient runes now too worn to be read, but that they were intended to be a memorial to the legendary Danish king Harald Wartooth. Over the following centuries, scholars made many attempts to decipher the ancient runes, with some claiming that they could make out and translate a few words. Some even claimed the runes contained a poem.

It wasn’t until the 1800s, after several centuries of researchers debating the mysterious inscription, that it was finally determined that the cracks were just that - cracks. The dike was simply covered in natural fissures formed in the stone. They only looked like old-timey writing.


A Neanderthal Skull Was Found With What Some Claimed Was A Bullet Hole

Archaeologists dig up what seems to be a perfectly ordinary Neanderthal specimen. Things take a turn for the unexpected when a close inspection reveals a bullet hole in the poor caveman’s skull. Sound like the intro to a cheesy movie about time travel? If so, you may have better instincts than the countless others who bought into this crazy notion when a weird hole was found in a Neanderthal skull in Australia in 1921.

Of course, actual research determined that the hole was caused by a bacterial infection, and that this hole had actually begun healing before the victim died, which means the hole didn’t even kill the specimen (who, for that matter, was not a Neanderthal, but a member of an earlier hominid species). No time travel required!



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Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:34:16 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/archaeological-misunderstandings-and-mistakes/stephanroget
<![CDATA[1915: The Catastrophic Antarctic Shipwreck That Stranded The Crew For Two Years]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-shackleton-expedition/philgibbons

Few exploits of the 20th century could match the courage and perseverance of the Shackleton expedition. Ernest Shackleton became the ultimate model for crisis management when his ill-fated 1914 Antarctic expedition met with disaster. His ship, the Endurance, was stranded amidst the expanding ice floes of the South Atlantic. Initially forced to abandon the vessel (which would eventually sink as a result of the hull being crushed by pack ice), Shackleton established a series of temporary camps on the ice, in the hopes that his party would eventually drift closer to civilization. When this failed, Shackleton was forced to abandon most of his group on remote Elephant Island and attempt a 700-nautical mile journey to the populated outpost of South Georgia Island. The plan, a long shot at best, called for him to then return to Elephant Island with a ship to rescue the remainder of the expedition.

Shackleton and five other men successfully navigated a 20-foot lifeboat across open ocean for 15 days and reached South Georgia Island. Having landed on the remote southern side of the island, Shackleton and two others then traversed a rugged 20-mile route to the tiny port of Stromness. The three other men were quickly rescued from the south side of the island, but it would take almost five months before Shackleton would successfully rescue all 22 men that he had left behind on Elephant Island.

Shackleton died of a heart attack in 1922 and slipped into obscurity until the sheer magnitude of his inspirational journey returned him to his current status as a popular culture icon of bravery and leadership. Some facts about his incredible mission illuminate why his return to prominence was so well-deserved.


1915: The Catastrophic Antarctic Shipwreck That Stranded The Crew For Two Years,

Shackleton's Ship Became Hopelessly Trapped In Ice

Shackleton's 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was beset with problems before he even reached his intended landfall at Vahsel Bay. In January of 1915, unusually cold temperatures precipitated an increase in the pack ice around the ship, the suitably named Endurance, and less than 100 miles from land, the ship became completely immobilized in solid ice. Two days were spent attempting to chop a passage through this barrier to no avail. Even worse, the ship was also moving away from its goal, as the Endurance was at the mercy of the drifting ice floe.

With temperatures routinely hitting -20 degrees centigrade, (-4 F) Shackleton would not be able to reach land until the ice melted, which would potentially take months.   


Shackleton's Men Were Forced To Kill And Eat Their Own Sled Dogs

Once Shackleton realized that he would not make an attempt to cross Antarctica, the sled dogs' days were numbered, especially because the dogs consumed more meat than the men did. On October 30, 1915, five dogs and the expedition's cat were shot by Frank Wild, Shackleton's second-in-command. More dogs would be put down as a result of the ever-worsening food situation, which meant that the dogs were as malnourished as the men.

By January 1916, 30 dogs had been killed, and on March 30, the last of them were shot, skinned, and eaten. By that time, Shackleton's men were so hungry that they did not even think twice about what they were eating. Still, the terrible fate of the animals merely underlined the desperation of the situation.  Wild later commented, "I have known many men who I would rather have shot, than these dogs."


After the Endurance Sank, The Expedition Trekked 100 Miles To Remote Elephant Island

Initially, Shackleton marched across the ice floes in a generally northerly direction, his exact route determined by ice and weather conditions. The weather varied greatly, with sunny days followed by fog, wind and extreme cold as low as -20 degrees F. By April, breaks in the ice meant that the men could navigate their lifeboats over open water.

Though he had initially hoped to reach Deception Island, Shackleton broke off this attempt as frequent exposure to freezing cold seawater in rough seas forced him and his exhausted, frostbitten men to put ashore on Elephant Island, a small island off the northernmost peninsula of Antarctica. Most of the island's shore was rocky and inaccessible, but on April 15, the expedition managed to eventually locate a small, seven-mile long beach on the island. This was the first land Shackleton had stood on in 497 days. For the moment, the group was safer than they had been in months, camping on dry land and not on an ice floe which could break apart at any moment.   


When Shackleton Made It Back To Stromness, Children Fled At The Sight Of Him

Shackleton's destination was the whaling station of Stromness, which he had not seen in almost two years. One concern was whether or not the whaling station was even still populated as conditions threatened to close it at any time. Three of the men were too weak to attempt the overland trip, so Shackleton took Worsley and Tom Crean with him. They took three days' worth of food, attached screws to the bottoms of their worn boots for traction, and decided to leave their sleeping bags behind.

On May 19, at 2 AM, hiking under the light of a full moon, the trio set out. They spent much of their first day getting lost in the dead ends of glaciers that forced them to retrace their steps. They finally made the decision to escape high altitudes by gliding down the steep incline, roped together. If they did not quickly descend to a lower altitude, they would have frozen to death. They glided successfully, but still had to overcome a 2,000-foot glacier and a 25-foot waterfall before they concluded their 36-hour journey on the outskirts of Stromness.

They tried to make themselves presentable, but wearing tattered, filthy clothes that had not been washed in a year and sporting long hair and beards, they got a predictable response when they encountered two children on their way to the station. When Shackleton asked for the station manager by name, the two children looked at him wide-eyed with fright and ran in the other direction. When he re-introduced himself to the station master, the man had no idea who he was.


Shackleton And His Men Endured Freezing Winds And Blizzards Waiting For The Ice To Melt

Shackleton's dilemma was not unprecedented. A 1911 German Antarctic exploration commanded by Wilhelm Filchner had also been trapped for six months before enough ice melted to allow his ship, the Deutschland, to escape and return to South Georgia Island. However, Shackleton also had to prepare for the possibility that the ice might begin to exert pressure on the sides of the ship.

He removed weight from the sides of the ship, hoping this would allow the Endurance to rise in the event that the ice began to push together, keeping the vessel intact as opposed to being crushed. Beneath the frozen ice, sea currents exerted tremendous force that pulled the ice floes and Shackleton's ship for many miles. Frequent blizzards and freezing wind also impacted the ice. Shackleton and his crew could only wait.    


After Abandoning The Endurance, The Expedition Went Into Survival Mode

Once the men left the Endurance, any chance of completing the original mission of crossing Antarctica was abandoned. Shackleton was now forced to focus on getting his men back to civilization, a formidable challenge. The ship had drifted for 281 days and a distance of 1186 miles. Shackleton was 350 miles from remote Paulet Island, the nearest outpost with even a thought of resupply and shelter.

Initially, the group erected tents near the Endurance, hoping to salvage as much as possible before the ship sank. They would have to rely on eating seals and even penguins to supplement their ever-decreasing supplies. The expedition spent almost a month salvaging whatever it could before the Endurance finally broke apart and disappeared into the water beneath the ice. Shackleton's initial plan was to attempt to march to the northern tip of Antarctica and if the ice broke apart, to take to the lifeboats salvaged from the Endurance.  


Shackleton Was Forced To Abandon His Ship Before It Was Crushed By The Ice

For six months, Shackleton waited to see whether he would be able to escape or if his ship would be destroyed by the pack ice accumulating around the Endurance. Later, he described the daily situation he faced in October of 1915:

"The ice is rafting up to a height of 10 or 15 ft. in places, the opposing floes are moving against one another at the rate of about 200 yds. per hour. The noise resembles the roar of heavy, distant surf. Standing on the stirring ice one can imagine it is disturbed by the breathing and tossing of a mighty giant below."

By the end of the month, the ship began to sustain serious damage to its stern. Within a matter of days, it was clear that the Endurance was not going to make it. On October 27, Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship.  


Shackleton Then Hiked Across South Georgia Island, Across Tremendous Glaciers

Shackleton safely made it off of the beach at Elephant Island and began the monumental task of reaching South Georgia. Although the ship traveled roughly 60 miles a day, the men were quickly drenched by rough seas and would spend the next few weeks perpetually wet, frostbitten, their skin rubbed raw and additionally irritated by seawater. On the fifth day, the James Caird was hit by a a powerful gale, and the crew feared they would capsize at any moment. The gale brought cold temperatures that froze water in heavy layers on the boat, which needed to be chipped off. Any excess weight, including frozen sleeping bags and spare oars, was tossed overboard to keep the ship as light as possible to maintain speed.

The sun came out again on the seventh day and Worsley was able to determine that they had traveled about 350 miles. The next few days were calm until another gale hit on day 11, again practically swamping the boat, which remained just barely upright. Just 14 days after leaving Elephant Island, the crew spotted South Georgia Island. Shackleton would have to spend another night in hurricane-force conditions, as they could not find a suitable area to land. Thwarted by reefs and glaciers, it took another day to find a suitable spot at King Haakon Bay.

While this part of their miraculous journey was complete, Shackleton had landed on the unsettled south side of the island. The James Caird had a broken rudder, was leaking, and was probably not going to be able to navigate the rugged trip to the other side of the island. Shackleton decided to traverse South Georgia Island on foot, an unprecedented trek that would require climbing over ice, rocks, and glaciers that reached 5,000 feet in elevation through deep snow. He had no other choice.


Shackleton Sailed 900 Miles In A 20-Foot Lifeboat To Summon Help

Shackleton soon came to the realization that the only way to get his men back to civilization would be if he successfully returned to South Georgia Island to summon help. That was over 900 miles away, over some of the most turbulent ocean on the planet, in a 20-foot-long lifeboat. Even if the ship, newly christened the James Caird after one of the financial backers of the expedition, remained seaworthy, the voyage would require exact navigation to locate South Georgia Island, a tiny outpost 100 miles long and 20 miles wide. Using only a chronometer and sextant, this would be the responsibility of the ship captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley. 

The lifeboat was refitted with a mast and loaded up with supplies to last only a month, as it was believed they would either succeed or perish in that amount of time. Shackleton and five other men set sail on April 24 on what was realistically a needle in a haystack proposition. Frank Wild was placed in command of the 22 men who would remain on Elephant Island and instructed to attempt to reach the nearby and uninhabited whaling outpost on Deception Island the following spring if Shackleton had not returned by then.   


The Goal Of Shackleton's Mission Was A Two-Team, Trans-Continental Trek

Because both Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott had already reached the South Pole, in 1914, Ernest Shackleton proposed to make the first continental crossing of Antarctica, an unprecedented mission. So lengthy was this trek that Shackleton assembled one team he would lead from South America and a second team that would leave from Tasmania and land on the opposite side of the continent along the Ross Sea. Shackleton would not be able to carry enough supplies to make it completely across Antarctica; the Ross Sea party would have to trek almost a third of the way across the continent in order to set up the necessary supply depots. This whole plan was rendered impossible by Shackleton's failure to reach Antarctica before his ship became trapped in the ice, preventing him from landing at an appropriate site. 



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Fri, 30 Dec 2016 01:42:11 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/facts-about-the-shackleton-expedition/philgibbons
<![CDATA[12 Hardcore Facts About Alexander Hamilton]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/badass-alexander-hamilton-facts/setareh-janda

Before 2015, it was common to hear that Alexander Hamilton was, by far, the most undervalued of all the American Founding Fathers. But with the explosive popularity of the Broadway musical Hamilton, that statement is no longer accurate. Hamilton fever swept America, and he became one of the most popular Founding Fathers, as fans of the musical flocked to historic sites and bought out shelves of books associated with him.

Hamilton was not just important in the founding of America. He was also a fascinating historical figure and tireless public servant. Though it is easy to sing Hamilton's praises today, it is also worth noting that he was highly controversial and divisive in his own time: Hamilton was a man who inspired admiration and respect just as fiercely as he inspired outrage and offense.

Indeed, a portrait can be drawn of Hamilton as a brash and renegade Founding Father who was passionate about his ideals and vision for what the new American nation could become. These badass Alexander Hamilton facts reveal a brilliant, singular man in an age of great men.

Though never elected as US president, Hamilton's shadow looms large. Considering all the badass things Alexander Hamilton did in his relatively short lifetime, his legacy deserves to be remembered.


12 Hardcore Facts About Alexander Hamilton,

He Was A Self-Made Man

It would be an understatement to say that Hamilton's childhood in the Caribbean was less than ideal. When he was 9,  his father abandoned the small family. His mother died of illness a few years later. He refused to let himself - and his future - be defined by his circumstances, however. So, he became self-educated and distinguished himself while working in a local import-export office


He Was Born Out Of Wedlock

Hamilton has the distinction of being the only Founding Father who was not born in the mainland North American colonies. Instead, he was born in Nevis, a tiny island in the British West Indies.

As a Caribbean island, Nevis attracted many young British men seeking to find riches in the empire. One such man was James Hamilton, a younger son of a Scottish laird, who traveled to Nevis to make his fortune. There, he met Rachel Faucette, a woman who was estranged from her husband. The two lived and had two sons together, though they never married


Historians Don't Know When He Was Actually Born

Alexander Hamilton was definitely born on January 11, but historians don't know the exact year of his birth. Official documents list 1755 as the year of his birth, though Hamilton often claimed he was actually born in 1757. Whether this was a simple case of mistaken dates or a more purposeful alteration of the facts remains unknown. No matter how you frame it, however, Hamilton definitely died before he was 50.


Hamilton Was (Likely) Against Slavery

Alexander Hamilton grew up in the Caribbean, which was the center of British slavery. There, he probably witnessed the gross inhumanity that defined the system. In 1785, Hamilton joined the New York Manumission Society, an organization dedicated to gradually ending slavery. Moreover, biographer Ron Chernow characterizes Hamilton as a "fervent abolitionist."

At the same time, however, Hamilton's attitudes toward slavery, like many of the Founding Fathers, were inconsistent. Indeed, the family of Hamilton's wife owned slaves in New York. Things were murky to say the least. 

 


Hamilton Single-Handedly Authored Over Half Of The 85 Federalist Papers

In 1787, Hamilton set out to defend the new US Constitution. His method? The pen, of course. He invited John Jay and James Madison to join him in the endeavor. When all was said and done, the team had produced a grand total of 85 "Federalist papers." Of the 85, Hamilton wrote an astonishing 51 under the pseudonym "Publius." 


Before He Was 30, He Founded A Bank That Existed For Over Two Centuries

There's good reason that Alexander Hamilton graces the ten dollar bill - he was a brilliant financial mind whose fiscal policies helped strengthen a burgeoning, young nation. But Hamilton was not just interested in the fiscal policies of the American government as a whole. In 1784, Hamilton - not yet 30 - founded the Bank of New York, which remained in business until 2007.


He Was Involved In America's First Sex Scandal

Though Alexander Hamilton was happily married to a daughter from a prominent New York family, he strayed from his marriage bed in 1791 when he began an affair with 23-year-old Maria Reynolds. Reynolds was a married woman, and her husband quickly turned the affair to his advantage by blackmailing Hamilton. 

As if cheating on his wife wasn't bad enough, Hamilton went on to publicly admit to the affair by publishing a full confession. The affair put a strain on Hamilton's marriage, because of course it did. In this instance, Hamilton was a "badass" in the sense that his conduct was "bad" and he was kind of an "ass" for having the affair in the first place.

Maria Reynolds sued her husband for divorce in 1793, and used Aaron Burr - Hamilton's future murderer - as her lawyer. 


He Worked With Aaron Burr To Defend A Man In The First Murder Trial In America

In 1800, Hamilton became part of the defense for 24-year-old Levi Weeks, a carpenter from New York City. Weeks had been accused of murdering Elma Sands and putting her corpse into a well. The defense team won largely because the state's case against Weeks was weak and based on circumstantial evidence.

Hamilton was not the only member of Weeks's legal defense. Aaron Burr, the man who would ultimately take Hamilton's life in the infamous duel at Weehawken, was also on the team. So, Hamilton and Aaron Burr ironically worked together to acquit a man accused of murder.


He Dropped Out Of College And Joined The Revolution

Hamilton journeyed to the mainland to get an education. In the 1770s, colonial America had a handful of options for young men to undertake courses of study. Though Hamilton hoped to attend Princeton, that institution rejected his proposal to undertake an accelerated course of study.

So by 1773, Hamilton was enrolled at King's College - today it's known as Columbia University - in Manhattan. He was a gifted student with an appetite - and aptitude - for learning as much as he possibly could.

But his interests weren't just academic. The 20-year-old Hamilton was so swept up in the winds of revolution that he dropped out of school and formed his own militia of 25 men. Though clearly a man of words, Hamilton sought to prove that he was a man of action as well. 


He Was Killed In A Duel

There is perhaps no greater evidence of Hamilton's badass-ery than the fact that he died in a duel at the hands of Vice President Aaron Burr. Burr was frustrated with Hamilton, especially after Hamilton repeatedly attacked Burr's abilities and honor. Burr demanded satisfaction.

Though dueling was a fixture of life at the turn of the 19th century, both in America and abroad, it nonetheless was a risky business. Hamilton knew this all too well: in 1801, his eldest son Philip had perished in a duel. 

But that didn't stop Hamilton from meeting Aaron Burr on the dueling ground on the morning of July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach, and Hamilton's death was probably agonizing - he died 31 long hours after the duel.



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Thu, 26 Jan 2017 05:57:44 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/badass-alexander-hamilton-facts/setareh-janda
<![CDATA[Dramatic Facts About Catherine the Great, Lusty Lover and Iron-Fisted Ruler]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/who-was-catherine-the-great/carly-silver

Who was Catherine the Great? You definitely know the name but probably not the life of the fascinating woman behind it. In reality, there are a ton of insane Catherine the Great facts that show what a ball-buster this Russian empress really was.

Born a minor German princess, Catherine married the heir to the Russian throne, tossed him out of power, and became a powerful ruler in her own right. Any Catherine the Great biography mentions her vigorous foreign and domestic policies, as well as her status as a tyrant.

But, when she wasn't ruling, what did Catherine the Great do? She read a ton of philosophy, took many a lover, passionately collected art (ranging from classical paintings to erotic furniture), and spent a lot of time riding horses. When she wasn't indulging her passions, she also toured her kingdom, wrote letters to the most famous folks of the day, and turned her court into a place of culture. 


Dramatic Facts About Catherine the Great, Lusty Lover and Iron-Fisted Ruler,

Catherine's Lover Put Together Fake Peasant Villages For Her

Catherine had a lot of boyfriends, but one of her most famous lovers was the formidable Gregory Potemkin. When she went on tour throughout her vast lands, she would have seen lots and lots of poor villages, occupied by starving serfs and farmers barely scraping by. But to make Catherine think her policies were more effective than they actually were, Potemkin, one of her chief ministers, didn’t let her see this.

He created what scholars have dubbed “Potemkin villages.” In the Crimea, he built temporary villages that were all clean and pretty and filled with happy, rosey-cheeked farmers to show to Catherine. They would host parades and cheer the Empress as she passed by. That way, when he brought her to her common people’s “home,” she would think that she was doing right by the common man and wouldn’t bother trying to improve poor people’s lives - or complain about the job Potemkin was doing as ruler of her southern lands.

Scholars have debated if these villages actually existed, but chroniclers at thet ime certainly regarded them as real.


Catherine's Son Might Not Have Been Her Husband's

It's well known that Catherine took a harem of lovers after her husband died, but she might have enjoyed an affair or two before it, too. One of those guys might have fathered her son and heir, Paul, from whom all later emperors descended. Catherine’s husband, Peter III, wasn’t really into sex and didn’t father any kids by his many mistresses. And it's known that he suffered from a deformation of the foreskin, which could have made it painful for him to have sex. Peter also was reportedly grossed out by Catherine.

Eventually, Peter’s friends got him drunk and forced him to have an operation to remedy his penis condition, making him able to father an heir. But was Paul his son? Catherine had taken up with Sergei Saltykov, a sexy young guy who was much hotter than her husband. In her own memoirs, the empress hints that Paul wasn’t Peter’s kid, but, in reality, Paul looked a lot like ugly Peter - and acted like his awful dad, too.


She Was Pen Pals With Voltaire

Dubbed an "enlightened despot," Catherine enjoyed reading the works of the philosophers of the Enlightenment, including the French Voltaire. The two began corresponding in a series of fascinating letters, discussing her visions for a utopian Russia (which didn't come to fruition, especially considering she didn't do a lot for the oppressed) and chatting about her troops' experience in battle.

Voltaire was a funny guy; he once quipped to Catherine, "I am older, madame, than the city where you reign." They got along famously; she made him an official historiographer of the empire, while he helped make her more popular throughout Europe and propagated the image of Catherine as a wise monarch.


Catherine Owned Erotic Furniture

Catherine the Great collected a lot of pornographic furniture in her spare time. Her illustrious collection included chairs with naked men - complete with six-pack abs - on the arms, along with some really sexy frescoes that she gave to her lover Gregory Orlov. Oh, and there was the beautiful table that was supported by a stand made out of carved penises as well as some seriously NSFW depictions of copulation on some of her favorite pieces.


She Ousted (And Maybe Killed) Her Husband

Catherine might not have been born Russian, but she didn’t let that stop her from taking power. Her husband, Tsar Peter III, wasn’t the greatest Emperor to ever reign over Russia; he actually preferred all things German (his dad had territories in northern Germany), even trying to make the Orthodox Church conform to Lutheran traditions. He even made peace with Russia’s arch-enemy, Prussia.

Needless to say, he was extremely unpopular, and Catherine wasn’t going to stand for it. Six months after he assumed the throne, with her loyal guards and her lover, she tossed her hubby off the throne in 1762, making herself Empress in her own right. She made Peter abdicate; he was then arrested and died, allegedly after a drunken fight.

Did Catherine order her husband’s death? Nobody knows, but she did definitely benefit from it - and was happy to get out of the marriage.


She Had A Secret Love Child By Her Lover Gregory Orlov

Shortly before staging a coup and becoming Empress in her own right, Catherine got together with one of her first major lovers, Gregory Orlov, and gave birth to a secret love child. This baby was named Aleksey Bobrinsky; his surname was derived either from the Russian word for beaver, since the kid was wrapped in a beaver skin at birth, or from Bobriki, an estate Catherine gave to her son.

Despite the fact that, as an adult, Aleksey ran up big debts, Catherine really indulged him. He was a little paranoid, like Catherine's legitimate son Paul I, but generally had a pretty decent life out of the spotlight. His noble descendants stuck around in Russia and held some important positions.


She Was Rumored To Have A Large Sexual Appetite

Rumor had it that Catherine's sexual appetite was so great that she didn't stop at seducing men. Allegedly, she even fell in love with and had sex with a horse. She was reportedly hoisted up into a harness so she could consummate her love, but the contraption broke and she fell to her death. That's patently false - she actually had a stroke on the toilet and then died in her bed. But Catherine was well-known for taking lovers, and this story was just another critique of her healthy sexual appetite.


She Came Close To Dying On The Toilet

Catherine the Great sort of died on the crapper. In 1796, at age 67, she got up to go to the bathroom, sat down on the toilet, and then had a stroke. Her servants found her there, managed to carry the empress back to her bed, and placed her on a mattress, where she actually died. Although her fatal stroke happened on the commode, she technically passed in bed.


Catherine's BFF Test Drove Her Many Lovers

Meet Countess Praskovya Bruce, one of Catherine's best friends since her teenage years. The two were so close for decades that Catherine dedicated an entire section of her memoirs to the Countess. But apparently the ladies were more than just bosom buddies. According to an Italian chronicler, Catherine asked Praskovya to have sex with her prospective boyfriends before she did to make sure they were good in bed. But rumor had it they fell out over the countess seducing one of Catherine's lovers after the Empress had already fallen for him. Who woulda thunk it?


She Aspired To Resurrect Byzantium

By Catherine's time, lands once ruled by the Byzantine Empire had been under Ottoman Turk control for centuries. But Catherine had other ideas, wanting to resurrect Russia's religious brethren - both followed the Orthodox Church - in her own way. To do this, Catherine helped reconquer the Greek/Turkish lands and put one of her grandkids on the throne. Scholars have dubbed this the "Greek Project" because that's what Catherine's secretary Bezborodko called the plan in letters he drafted explaining the initative. It's also worth noting that she named her second grandson Constantine, a Byzantine moniker, while she planned for her lover, Potemkin, to take power in an Eastern European kingdom.



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Mon, 21 Nov 2016 02:51:16 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/who-was-catherine-the-great/carly-silver
<![CDATA[14 Photos of Historical Legends Hanging Out With Each Other]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-badasses-hanging-out/kellen-perry

Epochal historical figures loom so large in the public imagination it's hard to conceive of them just, y'know, hanging out with each other, kickin' it like normal people. But they totally did and do, and there are photographs of the historical figures cool kids club to prove it. Here you will find some awesome historical photos of filmmakers and pop stars, authors and activists, physicists and silent film stars together.

What the hell would Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin talk about? The weather? Who knows how many awesome stories Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Houdini probably shared, but if any two historical badasses had a lot to talk about, it was those guys. Hell, Teddy Roosevelt pictures are badass in-and-of themselves. Throw Houdini in there and you've got two of the most famous figures of history together. Can't go wrong, right?


14 Photos of Historical Legends Hanging Out With Each Other,

Helen Keller & Mark Twain, 1905

Deaf/blind author/activist Helen Keller with Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain. Twain reportedly told her "serious, comic, and curious" stories, including why he chose his pseudonym.


Groucho Marx & Alice Cooper, Early 1970s

Groucho Marx hanging out with friend Alice Cooper, whom he lovingly called "Coop."


Lucille Ball & Eleanor Roosevelt, 1944

Actress Lucille Ball and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt shake hands during a fundraiser for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.


Shaquille O'Neal & Bill Gates, 1995

NBA star Shaquille O'Neal carrying Microsoft's Bill Gates circa 1995. The context of this photo is unknown, but Shaq did help Gates promote Windows 95 and MSN.


Ford, Edison, Harding, & Firestone, 1921

Inventors and magnates Henry Ford and Thomas Edison hanging out, reading the New York Times with then-President Warren G. Harding and businessman Harvey S. Firestone.
 


Charlie Chaplin & Mahatma Gandhi, 1931

Silent film star Charlie Chaplin met Mahatma Gandhi in a London slum in 1931 to discuss "the true meaning of supreme independence," according to the Times of India.


John Wayne & Gary Cooper, 1947

On-screen cowboys vacationing together in Acapulco, Mexico. Note Cooper's snazzy tie-on espadrilles.


Harry Houdini & Theodore Roosevelt, 1914

America's most badass magician and most bull moose president, photographed together in 1914 on an ocean liner known as the SS Imperator, which was the largest passenger ship in the world at the time.


Albert Einstein & Charlie Chaplin, 1931

Physicist Albert Einstein and comic/filmmaker Charlie Chaplin attending the premiere of Chaplin's City Lights in Los Angeles.


Harry S. Truman & Pablo Picasso, 1958

President Harry S. Truman shakes hands with Picasso outside his ceramic studio in Vallauris, France, during Truman's 1958 European tour.
 



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Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:20:56 PST http://www.ranker.com/list/historical-badasses-hanging-out/kellen-perry
<![CDATA[What Was The Political Situation In Jerusalem Like When Jesus Arrived?]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/jerusalem-political-environment-when-christ-arrived/christopher-myers

Let's face facts: Jesus was, and continues to be one of the most influential people in history. Seriously, just look at these Jesus-based memes. We're still talking about the dude some 2,000 years later! Unfortunately, if you are going to make an impact like that, you are bound to piss off a lot of powerful people during your time here on Earth. The Son of God was no exception to the age old rule, "Haters gonna hate."

Crucifixion was not a one-time sort of thing for the Romans. Like many other governments throughout history, publicly displaying bodies was their way of saying, "Shut up and obey me."

So what exactly was going on in the Roman Empire that a guy who pretty much went around preaching, "Don't be a dick to each other" wound up executed in the most brutal of fashions? It turns out, there was more to it that most of us realize.

The politics in biblical times are a bit complicated, and are too frequently glossed over when people talk about Jesus. People are in it for the miracles and forgiveness, but sort of forget that Jesus was actually a pretty radical guy.

Middle Eastern political history has typically been mired in conflict, and there is a reason people there always seem to be fighting over something. In order to understand the meaning of the Bible, it is important to understand the history behind it. So here is the breakdown of what was going on in Jerusalem when Jesus rode in for the last, fateful time.


What Was The Political Situation In Jerusalem Like When Jesus Arrived?,

The Upper Crust Had Fancy New Uptown Digs

The aristocracy of Jerusalem consisted largely of the Pharisees and other religious authorities at this time, and Herod the Great had just built them the ancient world's equivalent of Beverly Hills.

It was called the Upper City, and it was located right next to Herod's Palace on Mount Zion. This place was the height of opulence, i.e. where the rich people lived. Those rich people just so happened to include the Jewish religious authorities, a fact that Jesus took keen note of.


A Brand-Spankin-New Temple Was Under Construction

The Temple in Jerusalem, the earthly dwelling place of God, was kind of a big deal. Seeing its political and religious importance, Herod the Great decided to rebuild it from the ground up and make it huge and fancy in the process. This place was like a capital building, cathedral, and football stadium all rolled into one. Thus, Herod really wanted to make it great again (and in doing so make Judea and himself great as well). 

The construction was a massive undertaking, though, and it continued long after Herod the Great's death. In fact, it was still underway when Christ came to town. So when Jesus said he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, that raised a whole lot of eyebrows. Naturally, they didn't understand what he really meant.


Jews Were Excited For A Messiah, They Just Weren't Hyped On Jesus

When the Jews thought of a Messiah, they were kind of hoping for a second King David. That is, someone who would ride in on a raptor brandishing a flaming sword and give the Romans the boot. Though Rome allowed some autonomy for local rulers like Herod Antipas, ultimately the provinces of Israel belonged to the Romans. The Jews fiercely hoped for a military messiah, a vengeful Old Testament lion who could free them from their literal and symbolic subjugation to Caesar.

These local rulers would also have a Roman counterpart: enter Pontius Pilate. So, in preparation for the masses arriving for the Passover feast, Pontius Pilate rode in with some extra muscle to keep the rowdy Jews in line, which the locals definitely didn't appreciate.

So right when the Jews were primed for a God-given military to act as a geopolitical lion, they instead got a lamb preaching forgiveness riding in on an ass, healing people, and telling them to love each other. Jesus was nice and all, but that wasn't exactly the fire and brimstone they were hoping for.


King Herod Antipas Was Playing Both Sides

Taking a page from his father's playbook, Herod Antipas worked to curry favor with both the Romans and the Jews. Well, that is, he attempted to curry favor with the Jewish upper crust. The common Jewish folk he managed to piss off pretty bad.

Herod Antipas is the guy who killed John the Baptist. It turns out that the reason he wanted ol' John's head on a platter is because John criticized him for marrying his half-brother's ex-wife. Well, the Jewish people kind of liked John the Baptist, so the whole ordeal really turned them off to Herod Antipas.

Likewise, Jesus was no fan of Herod Antipas, referring to him as "that fox." Antipas was no doubt eager to dispose of Jesus (who posed a threat to his authority) when Jesus was sent before him by Pontius Pilate. At the same time, though, he didn't want to repeat his mistakes by being the one to condemn a big crowd pleaser to death.


A Ton Of People Were Visiting The City For Passover

It is important to note that many people visited Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Many as in millions, which is insanely impressive for ancient times. With all these people staying with relatives or just camping out, the city's population spilled out into the surrounding countryside.

Not only were the logistics of maintaining civil order in such a scenario staggering, if you wanted to start a revolt this was the time and place to do it. No doubt, the Romans were keenly aware of this situation, shown by the extra military presence in the city at the time.


The Jewish Local Government Was Pretty Shifty

This was the Jewish court system during the time of Jesus and it was controlled by the Pharisees. It consisted of 71 Rabbi who passed judgment on criminals that came before them. It ruled on both civil and religious violations of law. This was the council that Jesus was brought before. They lost the ability to impose capital punishment in 30 AD, which is why they ultimately had to seek out Pilate in order to condemn Jesus to death.

The council did not initiate arrests, but it did function to try the accused. There were no attorneys, but instead witnesses were called against the accused, and the accused could call witnesses of their own. The generally did not convene during the Sabbath, festivals, or the eve of festivals, which was the first thing strange about Jesus' trial. The second was that it convened in the middle of the night, when not all of the members were present. It kind of reminds one of Congress, come to think of it.


In 63 BC, Rome Was (Sort Of) Invited In

The Roman dominance over Israel actually started with a fight over succession rights between the two sons of Hasmonian ruler Alexandra. Both of them appealed to Rome for assistance since, well, Rome was the big power player in the area. Rome obliged them, with General Pompey invading Jerusalem and profaning the temple. That probably wasn't what they had in mind, but c'est la vie. First born son Aristobulus II unsuccessfully tried to resist the invasion, which landed Hyrcanus II the job of high priest.

After another internicine struggle, Herod the Great ended up as the next high priest. Rome allowed him nominal rule as a client-king, but they also had a local Roman governor assigned to the area. Rome also ended the tradition of the high priesthood being determined by succession, replacing it with an appointee system. Naturally, these appointees had to be approved by Roman authorities.


Eighty Years Of Jewish Independence Ended Less Than 100 Years Earlier

From the successful Maccabean Revolt up until the conquest of the Romans in 63 BC, the Jewish people enjoyed the last period of independence they would see until the establishment of Israel after WWII. They were pretty stoked on it, and over those 80 years they really developed a taste for the whole thing.

Thus, when the Romans rolled through and took the place over it really bummed everyone out. By the time Christ came along, there were many apocryphal cults developing within the Jewish community expecting a Messiah to rise up and kick the Romans to the curb.

This period of independence, called the Hasmonean Dynasty, was not all roses and sunshine, however. Relations between the Samaritans and the Jews deteriorated. The Samaritans were basically permanent resident aliens in Israel. They considered themselves followers of "the God of Israel," but their religion was a bit different from traditional Judaism.

The Jews weren't supposed to intermarry with them, but they did. Think of it as similar to the whole Catholic vs. Protestant thing. Well, when Hasmonean King Hyrcanus destroyed a Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim, it set interfaith relations back a bit.

Over time, the values of the Maccabean Revolt were pretty much forgotten by the Hasmonean rulers. By the rule of Alexander Ja