When oxygen was first discovered by British clergyman Joseph Priestley, in 1774, he called it “dephlogisticated air.” Imagine trying to spell that on a science test!

Cleopatra remains fascinating, 2,047 years after her death. To date, she has been the subject of five ballets, seven films, forty-five operas, seventy-seven plays, and innumerable paintings.

Lilias Adie was an elderly woman who lived in the village of Torryburn, Scotland. According to local legends, in 1704, a neighbor accused her of plotting evil mischief. During Adie's interrogation, she confessed to trafficking with the devil, and died in prison shortly after her confession, before she could be punished for her "crimes." Recently, researchers with Scotland's Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University (CAHID) digitally modeled Adie's face. They worked from photographs of her skull, which was formerly in the collection of the St. Andrews University Museum, but had been lost sometime during the 1900s. The face they uncovered is kindly. Hardly a monstrous witch who consorted with the most evil thing in existence.

When Vietnam pronounced its "Declaration of Independence" from France in 1945, they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in its first line. And France's own Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, in its third line. Rather ironic.

Have you heard of the Moosleute? Dwarflike "moss people," they live in the forest of Germany. If treated well Moosleute will heal people, and for some reason, offer good advice. They're like folktale's Ask Amy.

What’s A King To A Caesar?

From 27 BCE to 1946 CE, someone, somewhere in Europe has had a title “Caesar.” The czar of Russia, the kaiser of Germany...many, many European titles were just local derivatives of “Caesar.”

The last Caesar was Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria, who was removed from office in 1946 by the Soviets. He’s still alive, too!

In Mesoamerica children are warned about El Coco. A shapeless, hairy monster, it kidnaps and devours children. So they had better listen to their parents!

Waltzing With The Devil

Did you know the waltz was once considered a scandalous craze? Dances before it had been precisely choreographed things, which kept men and women at arm’s length and the most a couple might do was hold hands. Then suddenly the waltz appears in the late 1700s. Couples could get close, even putting their arms around each other! So shocking! And of course, it was insanely popular with young people.

Madame de Genlis, a royal French governess, said the waltz caused women to lose their virtue. “A young woman, lightly dressed, throws herself into the arms of a young man. He presses her to his chest and conquers her with such impetuosity that she soon feels her heart beat violently as her head giddily swims!” The waltz, M. de Genlis said, could corrupt any honest young woman who danced it.

It sounds silly today. But people were really worried that waltzing was corrupting the youth. Rather like some modern dance crazes...

an original piece by historical-nonfiction

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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