The Princess Who Swallowed A Piano

The daughter of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Princess Alexandra Amelie was the only one of her nine siblings who never married. Her father put off would-be suitors by claiming she was in fragile health. But her health wasn’t the only thing fragile about Alexandra. At age 23, the pretty, dark-haired princess was found walking slowly, carefully, bow-leggedly down the corridors of the royal palace. When questioned by her worried parents, she claimed that as a little girl she had swallowed a full-size glass grand piano. The princess was worried that if she bumped into something, the piano inside her would shatter and leave her in bloody shreds.

Besides developing the glass delusion in her early twenties, the princess had a number of other eccentricities that would have been considered symptoms were she not a royal. She had an obsession with cleanliness, and wore only white. In the 1850s, Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte (son of Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Lucien) asked King Ludwig for Alexandra's hand in marriage, but he was divorced from his wife, but Ludwig refused citing Alexandra's "delicate health."

Alexandra Amelie eventually was appointed abbess of the Royal Chapter for Ladies of Saint Anne in Munich and Würzburg. It was a religious community specifically for noble ladies. She became a writer and published original pieces in German as well as translations of French literature. The princess died at 49

Quote taken from Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History-- Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie. Alexandra Amalie lived from 1826 to 1875, and lived eventually as an abbess.

Silver Throne of the Maharaja of Dungarpur

This is half of a pair: one was made for the maharajah, one for the maharani. Rajasthan, India, 1854-1855.

Ancient Khmer Capital Failed Because of Poor Government Management of Infrastructure

The ancient city of Koh Ker had a very brief spell as the capital and center of the Khmer Empire, between 928 and 944 CE. The capital was then moved back to Angkor Wat. A new study has used ground-penetrating radar and manual excavation to uncover some of the hidden structures of the Koh Ker settlement, discovering a chute some seven kilometers long (4.3 miles), designed to ferry water from the Stung Rongea river to the city.

But the chute has been calculated to be too small. This meant there were likely overflows and flooding, and the water would end up being wasted, without reaching where it was supposed to go. In 944 CE after just 16 years in Koh Ker, King Jayavarman IV decided to move the capital back to its previous location in Angkor Wat. It was probably no coincidence that Angkor Wat's water infrastructure actually worked.

On the afternoon of October 24th, 1961, 31-year-old Mrs. Joan Risch was found to be missing from her home in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Blood was found in the kitchen and the driveway, and it matched her blood type. A table had been overturned and a telephone handset had been torn from the wall. Interestingly, her 2-year-old son was safe in his crib upstairs. Her husband, returning from a business trip, said he could not explain the source of some empty beer bottles in a wastebasket.

Joan Risch had last been seen wearing a trench coat and carrying something red quickly up her driveway, toward the garage. Several people reported having seen a two-tone blue car in the neighborhood, and possibly in the Rischs' driveway, at about the time of her disappearance. Multiple witnesses also reported seeing a disoriented woman who matched Risch’s description walking along nearby roads. In a Gone Girl twist, some time after her disappearance it was discovered that Risch had checked out 25 books on murders and missing-persons cases over the summer of 1961. What happened that day in October has never been solved. Both Risch’s husband and police chief Leo Algeo died in 2009.

Looking at this map, you would never know that potatoes were domesticated in the Andean highlands. History takes some strange turns.

Japanese Daimyo's Formal Attire, circa 1830

This outfit is known as a kamishimo, a type of formal wear restricted to high-ranking members of warrior clans. They are easily distinguished by their broad, flaring shoulders. From the crest on the front, the double apricot branches of the Nabeshima clan, we know it was worn by Nabeshima Naomasa, one of the last daimyō in Japan. An innovator who saved his lordship from bankruptcy, Naomasa did a lot of things including establishing a number of industries in his domain, building the first reverberatory furnace in the country, and introducing smallpox vaccination into Japan by experimenting first on his own son.

New Study Pinpoints The Ancestral Homeland of All Humans Alive Today

A group of researchers say they have pinpointed the ancestral homeland of all humans alive today: modern-day Botswana. Based on analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the researchers concluded that every person alive today descended from a woman who lived in modern-day Botswana about 200,000 years ago.

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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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