Biography History

The Incredible True Story of the Birdman of Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California is legendary for its time as the site of one of the most infamous prisons in history. The “inescapable” island once housed notorious gangsters such as Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Against the foggy backdrop of the San Francisco Bay’s rocky shoreline, this prison became famous as […]

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Biography History Mystery

The Humorous Tale of Saint Expeditus

I previously wrote about Saint Guinefort, a dog who became an unofficial local saint after a folk tale emerged surrounding his heroic deeds. While studying Saint Guinefort, I stumbled upon a little-known saint by the name of Saint Expeditus. There is little information available regarding this character, but what I could find is quite amusing. […]

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History Mystery

Locusta: Who was Emperor Nero’s Poisoner?

History is often a matter of storytelling. Though we try to remain objective, it is inevitable that heroes and villains begin to form in our minds as we follow the long and tangled thread of human civilization. Of these storied villains, few rank as high in infamy as the maligned Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar […]

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History Mystery

Franklin: The U.S. State That Never Was

In 1784, less than a decade after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and only a short few years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, the U.S. state of Franklin declared its own independence. (1)(2) Rather than simple independence from the United States government, which was in its infant stage at this time […]

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History Travel

The Salton Sea: How a Desert Resort Became an Abandoned Wasteland

In 1905, a dry lake bed in Southern California called the “Salton Sink” was filled with water once more as the Colorado River surged and newly constructed irrigation canals funneled the entire volume of the river into this low-elevation desert land. The event was an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime failure in irrigation planning, and the result was […]

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History Mystery

The Dog Who Became a Saint

St. Francis of Assisi is often associated with animals. His philosophy of respect and stewardship over nature has cemented him in history as a patron of ecology, nature, and the creatures with which we share this planet. Like many other saints, Francis’s gentleness towards animals is just one of the many pious behaviors associated with […]

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Biography History Mystery

Louis XVII: The Lost Dauphin

In 1789, Louis XVI of France lost his grip upon the monarchy which he had inherited. Famine, indecisive decision-making, and unsuccessful policy reforms had created an environment in which the so-called “third estate,” the estate of the middle class commoners, struggled to survive. The mood in Europe, especially following the American Revolutionary War which France […]

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Biography History Mystery

Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy: The Richest Pirate in History

The “Prince of Pirates,” the “Robin Hood of the Sea,” “Black Bellamy;” Samuel Bellamy’s short career as a pirate captain was dramatic enough to earn him such epithets as these. Forbes Magazine, of all places, has named “Black Sam” as history’s wealthiest pirate. This is shocking considering the fact that Bellamy’s entire career as a […]

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Biography History Mystery

Who is Joanna the Mad? The Fascinating Life of Spain’s Forgotten Queen

“Joanna the Mad” is a name that is positioned at a focal branch of both the Habsburg family tree and that of the Spanish monarchy. Joanna, also known as “Juana La Loca” actually reigned as queen of Castile, and later of Aragon, for several decades. Despite this, her name is often overshadowed by the larger […]

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Artifact History Mystery

What is the Pedro Mountain Mummy?

In 1934, a pair of prospectors ventured into the Pedro Mountains in central Wyoming and discovered a treasure far outside of their expectations. The history of this object is shrouded in mystery and scandal and has inspired theories which range from superstitious to paranormal. The object in question is a mummy. Discovered within a sealed […]

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