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Stranger Than Fiction: The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz

Stranger Than Fiction: The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz

May 22, 1918 was a typically hot sweltering night in New Orleans. Joseph Maggio, a local grocer, and his wife Catherine had just settled into bed for a good night’s sleep. The next morning, Maggio failed to report to work. Later that day, the New Orleans Police found the bodies of the couple in their [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: And The Little Town was No More

Stranger Than Fiction: And The Little Town was No More

There is only one way to tell the history of Crush, Texas—briefly. Crush had an unusual history. The town was founded and became the second largest city in Texas. It had its founder’s day celebration, experienced a tragedy and vanished. And all these events occurred in just one day. The town was created and destroyed [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Amazing Jackie Mitchell

Stranger Than Fiction: The Amazing Jackie Mitchell

In March of 1931, the New York Yankees baseball team had just finished spring training in Florida and was on their way back to New York. As was the custom, the team stopped in Chattanooga, Tennessee to play an exhibition game with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a Class AA minor League team. The Lookouts were unique [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Curse of the Lincolns

Stranger Than Fiction: Curse of the Lincolns

Judging by the bizarre events in history it would appear that the Lincoln family has the unfortunate distinction of being forever linked to assassination. In the history of the United States, four U.S. presidents have died at the hands of an assassin. In each incident, a member of the Lincoln family was present. On April [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: When George Washington gave new meaning to the term “Political Party”

Stranger Than Fiction: When George Washington gave new meaning to the term “Political Party”

George Washington, the father of our country, could arguably be regarded as the first action hero. While he garners much respect and reverence, his humble beginnings were, at times, somewhat comical. Early politics in America was vastly different by today’s standards. There were things politicians could do then that they are absolutely forbidden to do [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Death of Mark Twain?

Stranger Than Fiction: The Death of Mark Twain?

Early one morning in 1897, Twain arose and went downstairs to breakfast. He picked up the morning newspaper and was stunned at the headline. He sat slack-jawed and bug-eyed in disbelief. There, on the headlines of the paper, Mark Twain read his own obituary. Fortunately, Twain was a humorist and saw the irony in all [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: “And They Shall Take Up Serpents”

Stranger Than Fiction: “And They Shall Take Up Serpents”

On a Sunday evening, men and women gather in the home of a fellow Christian to praise God and give thanks for the blessings in their lives. When all the members have arrived, they quietly retire to a room in the basement of the home for church services. They must be careful and not attract [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Deadly Wolf Peach

Stranger Than Fiction: The Deadly Wolf Peach

Throughout the 18th century and early in the 19th century, most Americans and Europeans believed the tomato was poisonous. Many thought they were pretty o behold and were useful as adornments in gardens but the acidic juices contained within the tomato, commonly referred to as the wolf peach, was highly toxic and would cause stomach [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Hanging of “Murderous” Mary

Stranger Than Fiction: The Hanging of “Murderous” Mary

Erwin, Tennessee was the scene of one of the most bizarre public executions in American history. The condemned was a female elephant named Mary who was reported to have killed as many as eighteen people by popular accounts. Actual accounts and historical documents proved that she had killed only one person. This was the only [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Heroine of Lime Rock

Stranger Than Fiction: The Heroine of Lime Rock

Being the “keeper of the flame” or a lighthouse keeper was once a very difficult job. Before computers and modern conveniences made the job more automated, keeping a lighthouse required almost constant attention, long hours and hard labor. The job of the lighthouse keeper was to warn ships that are passing too close to land. [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Youngest Major Leaguer

Stranger Than Fiction: The Youngest Major Leaguer

Imagine what it would feel like to step out on the pitcher’s mound, before a crowd of thousands of fans, and pitch to a major League baseball player who has played the sport for years and has racked up numerous home runs. Now, imagine how intimidating it would feel if you were only 15-years-old and [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Female Paul Revere

Stranger Than Fiction: The Female Paul Revere

Most Americans are familiar with the story of the daring midnight ride of Paul Revere who bravely rode out to warn American patriots of the impending invasion of British soldiers. But few are familiar with a lesser-known story of Sybil Ludington, a courageous 16-year-old girl who made an even more amazing ride to muster troops [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Magician’s War

Stranger Than Fiction: The Magician’s War

In 1856, the natives of Algeria were beginning to raise a rebellion to expel the French armies that had held them under colonial control. The rebels’ fervor was fueled by the religious holy men of the region that were encouraging rebellion by performing miracles. Vast armies of rebels began to form bringing great concern to [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: Andrew Jackson’s Foul Mouthed Fowl

Stranger Than Fiction: Andrew Jackson’s Foul Mouthed Fowl

By modern standards, Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States would be considered a redneck. While he resided at the White House, he enjoyed hunting squirrel on the front lawn and kept a moonshine still on the property. He enjoyed horse and carriage races and often orchestrated such events on the front lawn [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: A Sign of Things to Come

Stranger Than Fiction: A Sign of Things to Come

It seemed like a harmless college frat boy prank at first. Three Duke University Law School students who were all near the top of their class, wanted to find out what their final exam grades were. The three young men put together a clandestine plan to break into the dean’s office and take a look [...]

Stranger Than Fiction: The Robbery of Lincoln’s Tomb

Stranger Than Fiction: The Robbery of Lincoln’s Tomb

While several attempts had been made to steal President Abraham Lincoln’s corpse, none were ever successful. The closest anyone ever came to stealing Lincoln’s corpse was in 1876 when a band of outlaws attempted to steal the body and hold it for ransom and to secure the release of a counterfeiter, Ben Boyd. Boyd was [...]

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