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Stranger Than Fiction: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Stranger Than Fiction: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

In 1897, an 8-year-old girl, Virginia O’Hanlon, came home from school upset because her class mates had told her there was no Santa Claus. She asked her father if this was so and he responded “If you see it in the sun, it’s so.” He then suggested she write a letter to the editor of [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Gene Autry’s Christmas Classic

Stranger Than Fiction: Gene Autry’s Christmas Classic

In the summer of 1949, Gene Autry, the singing cowboy, was sitting in his office leafing through dozens of songs that had been submitted to him by aspiring songwriters. Autry was selecting songs for his upcoming Christmas album that had to be recorded within days to be make his deadline. He needed six songs but [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Christmas Truce

Stranger Than Fiction: The Christmas Truce

December 24, 1914 started out like many other days during the Great War, now known as World War I. The day began with a barrage of artillery and gunfire between German and British troops entrenched along the western front near Ypres in Belgium. As the hours of Christmas approached a most miraculous event occurred on [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: the Lincoln’s First Thanksgiving

Stranger Than Fiction: the Lincoln’s First Thanksgiving

Although Thanksgiving had been observed sporadically throughout the nation since the administration of George Washington, the day was never observed as a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation making it a legal holiday. The nation was set to observe the first national day of giving thanks in November of 1863. Ironically, the [...]

Stranger than Fiction; Hitler’s Dirty Secrets

Stranger than Fiction; Hitler’s Dirty Secrets

In the 1930s, German dictator Adolf Hitler found himself in the position of being extorted by his nephew over some dirty family secrets that threatened to bring down Der Fuhrer’s regime. The threats brought the two Hitlers to conflict and compelled William Patrick Hitler to commit irrational acts. Alois Hitler was Adolf Hitler’s half-brother. Alois [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Amazing Harry Houdini

Stranger Than Fiction: The Amazing Harry Houdini

It was 86 years ago this week, Halloween, 1926, that legendary magician and escape artist, Harry Houdini died at Grace Hospital in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 52. Houdini’s death was the result of peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix. Houdini had once vowed that he would escape the spirit world, if it were [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Ghost Trial

Stranger Than Fiction: The Ghost Trial

Greenbrier County, West Virginia was the site of one of the most unusual murder trials in U.S. history. The accused was tried, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison based on the testimony of a ghost. This stranger than fiction tale began on January 23, 1897, when Elva Zona Heaster was found dead at [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Naked Truth

Stranger Than Fiction: The Naked Truth

Some would consider President John Quincy Adams to be a male chauvinist by modern standards. In truth, he was simply a product of his time. At the time of his presidency (1825-1829) women had few rights. They couldn’t vote or own land, nor did they have a right to an education. The best a young [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Challengers of the Falls

Stranger Than Fiction: Challengers of the Falls

Niagara Falls has long been the inspiration of lovers, filmmakers, authors, artists, musicians and travelers who marvel at the beauty and majesty of the falls. The falls are among the largest in the world and without a doubt, the most breathtaking and alluring. The voluminous falls span the border between New York and the Canadian [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Jack the Signalman

Stranger Than Fiction: Jack the Signalman

During the latter part of the 1800′s, travelers to Cape Town, South Africa, along the Port Elizabeth Mainline Railroad frequently saw a curious sight as they entered the train station. The signalman operating the levers that set the signals in the control tower was a baboon named Jack. As strange as it may seem, Jack [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Stupidest Outlaw in the West

Stranger Than Fiction: The Stupidest Outlaw in the West

Blackjack Tom Ketchum emerges from the pages of history as something of an enigma. Little is known of his life and his crimes were unspectacular and incompetent. His bumbling efforts at robbery inspired some newspapers to begin referring to him as the “Stupidest outlaw in the West.” It was his stranger than fiction death that [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Ignorance is Bliss

Stranger Than Fiction: Ignorance is Bliss

When the 20th President of the United States James Garfield was cut down by an assassin’s bullet in 1881, doctors immediately began treating the president. Little did they realize their antiquated medical practices would result in an agonizing premature death for the president as well as an unusual defense for his assailant. In fact, some [...]

Stranger than Fiction; Hitler’s Dirty Secrets

Stranger than Fiction; Hitler’s Dirty Secrets

In the 1930s, German dictator Adolf Hitler found himself in the position of being extorted by his nephew over some dirty family secrets that threatened to bring down Der Fuhrer’s regime. The threats brought the two Hitlers to conflict and compelled William Patrick Hitler to commit irrational acts. Alois Hitler was Adolf Hitler’s half-brother. Alois [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Booth Rescues Lincoln

Stranger Than Fiction: Booth Rescues Lincoln

One evening in 1863, Robert Lincoln, the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln stood on a platform at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Jersey City. A crowd of people began gathering around the conductor to buy sleep car reservations as an even larger crowd jammed the train entrance. The young Lincoln slowly made his way [...]

Stranger than Fiction: The Mysterious Chung Ling Soo

Stranger than Fiction: The Mysterious Chung Ling Soo

In the world of magic perhaps few magicians are as mired in mystery and intrigue as Chung Ling Soo. His life was one of mystery and his accidental death revealed one of his best kept secrets. Born in 1861, Chung began performing in Europe in the early 1900s where Asian magicians were in high demand [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: An Idea That Changed the World

Stranger Than Fiction: An Idea That Changed the World

Imagine if you had an idea that would change the world, one that would spawn industries and create jobs while providing entertainment to the masses and allowing artists, actors and musicians a medium to showcase their talents on the world stage. Now, imagine you have this remarkable idea and you are just 14-years-old. That was [...]

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