An Author You've Heard Of, A Game You Haven't

Jane Austen was very good at, and loved, a ball game called bilbocatch. It involves a wooden cup with a handle, and a small ball attached to the cup by a string. To play, the player tosses the ball and catches it in the cup. Jane could -- allegedly -- catch the ball more than 100 times in succession.

In 1795, nearly one-sixth of the entire United States federal budget was sent to Algeria as a ransom for 115 American sailors captured by Barbary pirates. The federal government had just been formed in 1790.

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.

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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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