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 Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies

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PostSubject: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyMon Nov 03, 2014 2:39 pm

albino  Nancy wanted me to start this thread where she can post a series of eclectic, and lesser known, bizarre facts from the past.  They could be about any time, place or person in history, but they are all true.  Twist them, sculpt them or feed them; but these bunnies might be useful in your stories.  Feel free to add any tidbits of your own.  Easter Bunny  


It's all yours, Nancy:  Get those bunnies hopping!   rabbit
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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyTue Nov 04, 2014 2:46 am

Clement Vallandigham was a lawyer who died in Lebanon, Ohio in 1871.  Whilst defending a man in a murder case Vallandigham was trying to prove the victim had accidentally shot himself. 

Whilst demonstrating how it could have been done to the jury, he lifted a pistol which snagged on his clothing, and he shot himself in the stomach.  He died the next day.



The defendant was acquitted!

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Tomorrow  I will no longer be reckless or feckless.  I will do everything with both reck and feck!


Last edited by Nancy Whiskey on Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:50 am; edited 2 times in total
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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyTue Nov 04, 2014 3:41 am

Wow, that's what I call commitment...

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For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyTue Nov 04, 2014 4:00 am

Just one final silly one for today (more tomorrow).


Did you know that during 'The Terror' of the French Revolution wig makers actually demanded unemployment benefit from the regime as there was nobody left in the country to buy wigs!

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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 6:49 am

Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626), renowned Philosopher and Academic was determined to find a way of safely preserving food.

Having bought a series of freshly gutted chickens he stuffed them full of ice, packed them in snow etc to figure out which system worked best.

In all his excitement, and finding his theory worked perfectly poor Francis did now wrap up properly, he caught pneumonia and died.

What a fowl day to die.

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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 7:05 am

Going back to the trigger-happy lawyer. It reminded me of another story I read. I hope you don't mind me butting in here.
Temple Houston was an eccentric lawyer in the West, tall, long-haired, dressed like a dandy; but he was also an excellent shot (won against Bat Masterson in a test) with a brilliant mind and a gift for oratory.
When he defended a man against a murder charge, he suddenly pulled out a pair of .45s and shot them at the jury - without telling them he was only shooting blanks. He wanted to demonstrate how quick and dangerous the killed victim was and that his client acted in self-defense by shooting first.
The jury still found the man guilty. But Temple Houston called for a re-trial, because the jury, when it fled from his shooting, had dispersed and mixed with the public, which they were not allowed to do.
He got a re-trial and his client was acquitted.

_________________
"I can resist everything - except temptation"  Oscar Wilde
For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!


Last edited by Stepha3nie on Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 7:16 am

S3 - On the contrary, I want people to join and contribute, the more the merrier and thanks so much for your contribution.  I have never heard of Temple Houston (that is a name just crying out to be used in Hollywood).  He sounds a real character, and more than a little bit of a rogue!

Thank you.

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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 9:33 am

I now did a little research on the internet and Temple Houston is even more interesting than I thought. Born 1860, he was the youngest son of Sam Houston (yes, the Texan!), orphaned at 7, joined a cattle drive up north at 13, worked his way south again on a Mississippi riverboat, then worked for some years as a page in the US senate in Washington.
He returned to Texas, studied and finished a 4-year-course in law in under 1 year and graduated with honours. He was admitted to the bar and opened his own practice as the youngest attorney in Texas. He was so successful as a defender, that he soon was offered the position of district attorney.
In 1883 he got married. From 1885 to 1887 he served as senator in Austin, Texas. He later moved his family to Oklahoma and worked again as a defender.
The above mentioned episode is not his most famous courtroom appearance. 1899 he decided at the spur of a moment to defend a known prostitute against the charge of prostitution. His unrehearsed "Soiled Dove" speech got her acquitted after hardly any deliberation of the jury. It was luckily written down by the court clerk (who even weeks later was bombarded with requests for copies) and is still known as the perfect closing argument. It has been used in law schools and it hung in the Library of Congress.
He died of stroke and brain hemorrhage in 1905.
He was statuesque, articulate, temperamental, fast with a gun, and overly fond of whiskey, flamboyant, a devoted family man.

He inspired books, movies and his own Western series (cancelled after the first season).

From what I read he sounds a bit like Heyes and Kid rolled into one (without the outlawing). Highly intelligent with a silver tongue, one of the fastest draws of Oklahoma, handsome,...

Some links, in case I piqued your interest:


http://www.oklahomatoday.com/oklahomatoday/MAGAZINE/Features/ND11_-_Temple_Houston_1.html
 
http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fho75

http://www.jcs-group.com/oldwest/good/houston.html
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soiled_Dove_Plea

_________________
"I can resist everything - except temptation"  Oscar Wilde
For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 11:46 am

Wow, thanks S3 

I will definitely dig into this with interest.  Not to mention his own Western series...  If it was remade today (no upper budget) who do you think would play him?

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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 11:55 am

I'd love to see Richard Armitage in the role. I know he is British, not Texan, but he would be great!

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For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyThu Nov 06, 2014 5:56 am

Puritans had some funny ideas when it can to naming babies.  As Bertie Wooster put it "There are some rum doings at the baptismal font"...  here are just a few

Silence-Discipline-Search-The-Scriptures

Fight-the-Good-Fight-of-Faith

Fly-Fornication

Jesus-Christ-Came-Into-The-World-To-Save-Poor

Die-Well

No-Merit

(the Barebones come across as a particularly strange family who came up with the following list..)

Praise-God Barebones, Fear-God Barebones, Damned Barebones (must have been an easy birth, huh?) and infact the Jesus-Christ-Came-Into-The-World-To-Save-Poor was a Barebones too.  They do come across as a barrel of laughs.)

... and finally perhaps my favourite

If-Christ-had-not-died-thou-hadst-be-damned!

~ ~ ~

I personally think Jedediah and Hannibal got off lightly, don't you?

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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyThu Nov 06, 2014 6:27 am

Sheesh, they didn't like their children much, did they?

I try to imagine a Puritan mother calling her family to dinner. If she had enough children, the food would be cold by the time she finished rattling off the names...

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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyThu Nov 06, 2014 8:48 am

Perhaps the mother just shouted 'Worthless-sinners' as a collective noun?

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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptySat Nov 08, 2014 6:51 am

In the 18th century, newly founded rescue societies had some interesting ideas about rescuing/reviving drowning victims. Some methods are still (in some form) in use today:
- warming the victim
- positioning the head lower than the feet, to help remove aspirated or swallowed water
- pushing on the abdomen
- mouth-to-mouth or bellows-to-mouth respiration
Other methods make us shake our heads today, but were considered just as effective:
- tickling the victim's throat
- bloodletting (the beloved "heal-all")
and my favourite
- stimulating the victim by means of rectal (and also oral) fumigation with tobacco smoke; bellows were used to drive tobacco smoke, a known irritant, into the intestine through the anus, as this was thought to be enough of a stimulant to engender a response in the “almost” dead

Those of you who regularly watch Stephen Fry's "QI" will probably already know this, but hopefully some of you didn't.
The Royal Humane Society of London, founded in 1774, also promoted these methods. As it was a model for the societies in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, these methods were probably also in use in America. But I believe that by the late 1800s at least the tobacco smoke method was no longer deemed helpful - and our boys were safe from posterior attacks with smoking bellows...

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"I can resist everything - except temptation"  Oscar Wilde
For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptySat Nov 08, 2014 7:50 am

I knew about fustigation, and it is weird and wild what passed for medicine.  I wonder in the future will people look back at us and laugh of some of our 'cutting edge' methods.

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Nancy Whiskey

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptySun Nov 09, 2014 6:22 am

Marjorie, Countess of Carrick (died 1292)

What do you picture when you think of a Medieval lady?  Helpless? Subservient? A damsel in distress?  Well, here is one who was most definitely none of those!


She was the Countess of Carrick in her own right and had married young to Adam of Kilconquhar.  Adam died during the eighth crusade in 1271.

A rather handsome young Knight visited the Countess to impart the sad news, but Marjorie was not one for long periods of mourning.  She had taken quite a fancy to this personable young man and promptly took him captive!   Indeed, she kept him incarcerated until he agreed to marry her.

They were married at Turnberry Castle in 1271, and you could be forgiven for thinking that after this rather unorthodox start to matrimony that it would be a rocky road for the couple.

Actually, they were reported to be a very happy couple and they went on to have nine children, the most famous of which was future King of Scots ~ Robert the Bruce

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyThu Apr 02, 2015 10:58 am

http://www.truewestmagazine.com/jcontent/m-true-west-blog/m2-true-west-blog/m-blog/7532-the-baron-of-arizona

I found this story online and thought you'd like it. It really is stranger than fiction.

Back in the 1880s, a man from Missouri named James Addison Reavis, who was skilled in the art of forgery nearly succeeded in pulling off one of the largest land swindles in history.

Reavis invented a phony family lineage that began with a Don Nemecio Silva de Peralta de la Cordoba. The fictitious Peralta was given the title of Baron de los Colorados by King Ferdinand VI in 1748, along with a huge grant of land.

The land he claimed was nearly twelve million acres, running through the heart of Arizona extended from today’s Sun City across to Silver City, New Mexico. It included rich mining properties and railroad right of ways.

He found a poor, sixteen-year-old orphan girl whom he christened, the “Third Baroness of Arizona”. Then he married her and claimed the title, “Baron of Arizona".

The baron proceeded to alter records from Mexico City to Spain. Amassing a fortune collecting monies from his “tenants” he maintained homes in Arizona, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Madrid, and Chihuahua City.

The scam was working so well he wanted even more money so he decided to sue the U.S. Government. Bad move. Agents exposed his documents as fraudulent. He was tried and convicted but the world loves a con man who schemes big. The baron was sentenced to only two years in the pen. The baroness went to her grave believing she was a real one.


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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyThu Apr 02, 2015 2:54 pm

Yes -- it's a fascinating con isn't it.  My story "First National Bank of Fort Worth" was based on the Baron's tale (vastly simplified, of course).

Before he was exposed (variously, depending on the account, by either determining the typeface on some documents hadn't been invented when they were supposedly executed, or because documents were written with steel nibs when only quills would have been around -- a fascinating early use of forensics to expose a fraud) he traveled the world and was hosted by royalty throughout Europe.
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Stepha3nie

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PostSubject: Re: Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True. Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    Weird, Wonderful or Woeful - But True.  Fast facts which will prod your bunnies    EmptyThu Apr 02, 2015 6:48 pm

To stay with the theme of nobility - I can add the weird and wonderful story of an emperor.




Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.



Born in England as Joshua Abraham Norton, he grew up mostly in South Africa. After his family died he moved to San Francisco in 1849 following the gold rush and managed to make a small fortune by being a shrewd businessman. Unfortunately one deal didn't go according to plan and he had to declare bankruptcy. After losing a court battle he disappeared from public view for some years, but in 1859 he resurfaced when he contacted newspapers proclaiming himself emperor of the United States.




His proclamation was published and people continued to humour him. He became a loved and revered celebrity and later also a tourist attraction. Even though he was nearly penniless, many restaurants let him dine for free, and then added brass plaques to their walls "by appointment of his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States". Theatres would reserve seats for him and when his clothes became too shabby, they were soon replaced by businesses and even the city of San Francisco. The city also granted him free passage on all public transport.




Still having a good business mind, Norton I issued his own money, which was accepted by local businesses and became a sought after souvenir tourists would buy, sorry, exchange, for dollars. He also sold IOUs to tourists, who were more interested in his signature than ever reclaiming the promised money. Banknotes and IOUs are still sought-after collector's items.




At one point a policeman arrested him for vagrancy. But the outrage of Norton's I loyal subjects soon forced the chief of police to release him, write a letter of apology and order all policemen to salute the emperor in the future.




Over the years he issued a wide variety of decrees: from dissolving the Congress, to forbidding the use of "Frisco" for his adopted hometown (fined with $25). Although the decrees were faithfully printed, they were never acted upon.

Some of them turned out to be visionary, like demanding that a bridge and a tunnel be built, connecting San Francisco and Oakland.




Even though he declared himself emperor he must have favoured equality very much, for he was strictly anti-slavery and he is said to have stopped a mob single-handedly from going after a Chinese man.




Norton I received some form of official recognition: the US census of 1870 gives his profession as "Emperor".




1880 he collapsed during a walk through the streets and died from a stroke before he could be taken to hospital. It looked like the emperor would end up in a pauper's grave. But once more businessmen rallied and provided a rosewood casket and a suitable send-off. Around 10.000 people lined the streets for Norton's I burial procession.




During his lifetime, the emperor had theatre plays and even operas written about him. But he has been immortalised in literature by writers like Mark Twain (the king in Huckleberry Finn is based on him) and Robert Louis Stevenson and more recently Neil Gaiman. 




In the second half of the 20th century his popularity must have increased because annual memorial services are held at his grave (in Colmar) since 1974 and in 1980 the 100th anniversary of his death saw ceremonies conducted in his honour in San Francisco.

In 2013 the latest attempt was started to rename the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge for emperor Norton. After all he had demanded its construction, even though it took a long time to be carried out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Norton

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/07/the-forgotten-emperor-of-the-united-states-norton-i/

http://www.history.com/news/the-strange-case-of-emperor-norton-i-of-the-united-states

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For me temptation is Hannibal Heyes, especially in chaps!
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