An Odd Tornado Damage Report

On June 1, 1943, a tornado landed in Lansing, Michigan and proceeded to strip the feathers off of 30 chickens. The chickens were otherwise unharmed.

Thalassophobia is the fear of the sea. It is used pretty broadly, so it can also mean fear of very deep water, fear of the empty vastness of the sea, and fear of sea creatures. The word comes from the Greek thalassa ("sea") plus phobos ("fear").

In 1894, Queen Victoria of England decided to pay a visit the London Horse Guards in her carriage. She was not amused to arrive and find guards drinking and gambling while they were supposed to be on duty. She ordered that, as punishment, the guards had to parade for inspection by an officer every day at 4 o’clock -- for 100 years! The punishment ended in 1994 but Queen Elizabeth II wanted the parade to continue. So the Household Cavalry still parade every day.

New DNA Evidence For Native American Ancestors in Siberia

A recent analysis of DNA extracted from a 14,000-year-old tooth fragment unearthed by archaeologists in south-central Russia in the 1970s found that it is mixture of ancient North Eurasian and Northeast Asian ancestry which matches that of today’s Native Americans. Ust-Kyakhta, the Siberian site where the tooth was found, is situated between Lake Baikal and the Mongolian border. That's about 2,800 miles from the land-bridge Beringia which connected eastern Siberia to the Americas until the end of the last Ice Age. About 2,000 miles away from Ust-Kyakhta, in northeastern Siberia, researchers have found the remains of a Mesolithic woman whose genome shares about two-thirds of its DNA with living Native Americans. The two genomes, found far apart from each other, suggests suggests that Native American ancestors came from a wider region than previously thought.

"Contagium vivum fluidum," Latin for "contagious living fluid," was how viruses were first described in 1898. It was described as a fluid because the virus being studied was able to slip through the finest mesh filters then available, like a fluid.

Josephine Baker, Civil Rights Activist

In 1963, Josephine Baker spoke at the famous March on Washington. She was the only woman on the list of official speakers. By this time, 57-year-old Baker was an international star, had worked with the French Resistance during World War II, and been involved with the NAACP to support the Civil Rights Movement since the early 1950s. While wearing her Free French uniform emblazoned with her medal of the Légion d'honneur, she stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and introduced the "Negro Women for Civil Rights," acknowledging among others Rosa Parks and Daisy Bates.

After Martin Luther King Jr's assassination, his widow Coretta Scott King approached Baker in the Netherlands. She asked if Baker would take her husband's place as leader of the Civil Rights Movement. After many days of thinking it over, Baker declined, saying her children were "too young to lose their mother."

Tillie Anderson was a Swedish seamstress who became a professional cyclist in America and dominated the sport in the 1890s. She won all but seven of the 130 races she entered. Unfortunately, women's cycling races declined and eventually ceased to be a professional possibility. By 1902 there were no longer any women’s races. Anderson switched careers, becoming a Swedish masseuse for wealthy families in Chicago, and helping establish bike paths in Chicago in the 1930s.

Scandal Has Always Sold

Celebrities are well-known for having scandals. Sometimes scandals supercharge a celebrity, sometimes they destroy them. Mae West was an example of where a scandal was a springboard to greater fame and fortune.

In 1926, she put on a play called simply “Sex” where she played (surprise) a sex worker. Newspapers were outraged. Mae West was thrown in jail for indecency. But the play was packed and audiences loved her for her bawdiness and fresh, edgy humor. She later quipped she “climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong” rather than rung by rung.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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