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.

On an uninhabited Caribbean island, archaeologists were amazed to discover a series of cave drawings pre-dating European contact. This was a surprise because the drawings are so well-preserved. Over 70 winding caves on the island of Mona, between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, contain art. Some are scratches on the rock. Others are more sophisticated, with paint made from sophisticated organic materials such as bat droppings, plant gums, minerals like iron, and materials from native trees like turpentine trees. The islanders were putting a lot of work into their art, deep where the light of day could not illuminate their creations.

The researchers noted that the indigenous people of Mona Island believed that the sun and moon emerged from beneath the ground. So exploring deep into the expansive network of subterranean caves, and making art there, is interpreted by today’s archaeologists as a highly spiritual act.

Fiji established a democratic government in 1970 but has experienced a great deal of political turmoil since. Military coups occurred in 1987, 2000, and 2006. Fiji's current government is considered a democratic republic.

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.

Patricia Bath was a scientist long before she became one by profession. She won several science awards as a high school student. She then went off to college and received her B.A. from Hunter College in Manhattan in 1964. Then it was off to medical school: she earned her medical degree in 1968 from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and then returned to New York for further training. Bath became the first black ophthalmology resident at New York University in the early 1970s. And she had a daughter while finishing off her residency! Pretty impressive, so far. But Bath's invention of the Laserphaco Probe a decade later was what really put her name in the history books. She invented an amazing new procedure, far ahead of its time—the tiny surgical device used lasers to disintegrate cataracts from within the eyes of patients, helping to fix a major public health problem. Bath was also the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent for her device and procedure.

In the 1880s, a baboon named Jack worked as the assistant to a paraplegic signalman for nine years on a South African railroad. Jack was paid in brandy and never made a mistake.

The American Niagara Falls was once stopped! Due to several years of rocks falling in, between the year 1931 and 1954, the American Falls faced erosion, which if not prevented would have resulted in the permanent extinction of the American Falls. In 1969, the US Army Corps of Engineers de-watered the falls, to allow a series of carefully-planned tests to be conducted.

The engineers were especially surprised with one thing their work uncovered: the body of a dead woman wearing a gold band, with the tragic inscription ‘forget me not’ on the inside. Their planned tests also found that 385,000 tons of Talus had accumulated at the base of American Falls. Those stones had resulted in reduction of waterfall from 100 feet to 45 feet, while the depth of the Talus ranged from 25 feet to 50 feet. As per the consensus taken from the public, there was to be no noticeable change in the appearance of American falls. In short? Nothing was done, and the erosion continues. But we have some amazing photographs of the de-watered Niagara Falls -- click through the gallery for more.

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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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