Category: History

10 Final Messages From People Facing Certain Death

Final wills are interesting because they give insight into what a dying person finds important.  Usually the person plans out their final will with the hope that it won’t be used any time soon.

That is not what Alan Boyle’s 10 Final Messages From People Facing Certain Death  is about.  Instead, his piece looks at, well, here’s how he describes it…

Death can take us at any time. But when you realize you have only hours or minutes left to live, you get a chance to deliver a final message to the world. Perhaps it’ll be a phone call or a text message or even just a note scratched into a nearby surface. They’ll be your last words. Make them count.


A Few More Things About Abraham Lincoln

Eddie Deezen at Neatorama posts A Few More Things About Abraham Lincoln.  Here are three of my favorites…

  • When Lincoln was nine, a horse kicked him in the forehead while he was in the middle of a sentence. He fell unconscious for several hours and when he awoke, his first words were the completion of the sentence he had been saying when the horse kicked him.
  • The tall, black stovepipe hat that Lincoln used to wear was more than just a hat. Lincoln used it as a portable filing cabinet and kept notes, money and letters in it.
  • Lincoln once left the stage during a political rally because he spotted one of his supporters being beaten. He picked up the assailant by his trousers and physically hurled him twelve feet away.

The First Spacewalk Nearly Ended In Tragedy

Astronauts are modern day adventurers. The very first astronauts were that and more.

Those first astronauts were insanely brave and willing to to take chances no man before them had the opportunity to attempt.  Their space ships were small and the computers on board were less powerful than today’s average middle school student’s cell phone.  Each journey into space was a life or death trip with national pride on the line.

Sadly, because the US became so proficient in sending people into space, as citizens we became complacent.  Before the Challenger tragedy, many of the major stations stopped carrying shuttle launches live because people weren’t tuning in.  Ah, but I digress.

Mika McKinnon’s post, 50 Years Ago, The First Spacewalk Nearly Ended In Tragedy is an excellent piece that details just how many ways the first spacewalk nearly killed the cosmonauts completing the mission.

Source: i09.

15 Quirks of U.S. Presidents You Didn’t Learn in School

Mental Floss presents: 15 Quirks of U.S. Presidents You Didn’t Learn in School.

From their list here are three of my favorites…


You couldn’t call Chester A. Arthur the sentimental type. The 21st president was happy to hand over wagonloads of White House furniture—the former belongings of his long line of esteemed predecessors dating all the way back to John Adams’s term—to the highest bidder. Rumor has it he only snagged $8,000 for the priceless haul.


Seemingly of Monroe’s school of thought, Martin Van Buren was known to bring a pair of loaded pistols to Senatorial assemblies, just in case an argument became too heated.


Benjamin Harrison, whose presidency was the first to oversee a White House wired with electricity, might be commended for embracing scientific progress … if it weren’t for the desperate fear of light switches that kept him from ever actually utilizing this new technology.

Message Undelivered Since WW2 Reveals Explosive Surpise

Recently the bullet above was found by a treasure hunter.  As you can see it was no ordinary bullet in that in contained not gun powder but a secret message.  The message was written in code so the finder posted a picture to a World War II forum and received an answer…

My grandfather served in Italy, I inherited all of his military gear. He saved all of his daily code books, so looked it up. Here is the message:

QM is code for the officer that was tasked with coordinating forces for a particular engagement. This is an engagement status letter that is addressed to that officer.

The (6) 5 letter codes read as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:


The final code at the bottom is a phrase:


Could this be some kind of joke that was never delivered?  Apparently not.  The Nazis were throwing grenades that weren’t armed until the Allied forces armed and then threw them back at the Nazis.

As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story.”

Source: Sploid.

Houdini’s Lost Film, “The Grim Game” Restored and Premieres in March!

The Grim Game,  a film once thought lost will premiere at the TCM Classic Film Festival in March.

The Grim Game, made in 1919 was Harry Houdini‘s first starring role and considered by many his best film.  I look forward to see The Grim Game when it makes its fully restored way into rotation on the TCM network.

For the full story on the film and restoration, check out this piece at

11 Amazing Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin is one of our most interesting founding fathers.  Did you know…

Franklin was a such a great swimmer that he received a posthumous induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1968!  He also invented swim fins [worn on the hands].

Franklin began masquerading as women at the age of 16 – in letters written to his brother James’ newspaper.  James was not amused when he found out that Silence Dogood’s [“a middle-aged widow with sharp, satirical wit”] letter were actually written by his kid brother.

Ben Franklin never said he wanted a turkey, and not the bald eagle, on our national seal. Franklin did try to cook a turkey using electric current but ended up shocking himself numb.

You’ll learn more about the Franklin facts above and a lot more if you click over to 11 Amazing Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Benjamin Franklin presented by Mental_Floss.

Who Killed the Black Dahlia? A Look at the Most Compelling Suspect!

Who Killed the Black Dahlia?  A Look at the Most Compelling Suspect by Cheryl Eddy is an excellent read for anyone with an interest in the 68-year-old unsolved case.

Here are a few tidbits….

It was 68 years ago this week that the body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was found mutilated and sliced in half in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. Newspapers would give the victim of this crime an unforgettable nickname: the Black Dahlia.

Clearly, someone so maniacal would be easy to track down, right?… Clearly not.

Last year, retired LAPD detective turned private investigator turned author Steve Hodel made a splash with fresh evidence in the case against his late father, Dr. George Hodel…  Hodel believes his father killed Short in the basement while the rest of the family was out of town, having confirmed the dates aligned with Short’s murder…(and his father) was actually on the LAPD’s shortlist after the crime…

Source: i09.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Hat Sells for 2.4 Million Dollars

Photo Credit: Charles Platiau / Reuters

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a hat in my life.  I don’t wear ’em.

While I would agree that the dome-topper pictured above is very stylish, even if I did buy hats, I couldn’t afford this one’s two point four million dollar price tag.

Yeah, you read that right.

Two.  Point Four. MILLION. Dollars.

That’s a lot of dough, even if Napoleon Bonaparte did wear the hat into battle.  The winner bidder paid more than five times the reserve!

If I wore a hat, I’d say, “Hats off to the winner.”

Source: Buzzfeed News.