Let's get some fun, interesting or otherwise notable stories from the past in here.
In 1953 on the 8th of July, two police officers on routine patrol saw a pickup in the middle of the road. Stopping the car, they pulled up to see what was up. The scene was nothing like they'd ever seen before. Three young men, Ed Watters (a barber, reportedly 28, although he looks younger in the photos), Tom Wilson (a fellow barber, 20), and Arnold 'Buddy' Payne (a butcher, 19) were standing at the side of the road looking confused and nervous. Laying in front of the car, was a small creature, about two foot in size. It looked like a space alien.
Mind you, this was 1953, about two years from the start of the space race. But sci-fi and space was already popular by this point, and aliens was an exciting prospect. Movies like The Flying Saucer by Howard Irving Young is what would today be viewed as a parody or at least a nostalgic throwback, but that was a current movie at the time and reflected mostly people's view of what they thought an alien would look like.
Aliens had been in the central focus of news at the time this happened, Just the night before there had been multiple reports of a large, multicolored, cone-shaped object flying overhead near Marietta, Georgia. But no one had ever seen a flesh-and-blood alien before.
The three men told the police an odd story, about how they were joking around in the truck, before coming over a hill and to their surprise see a flying saucer coming right at them, "glowing red all over".
Three small aliens were outside the craft and on the road, the driver slammed on the breaks but couldn't avoid hitting one of the aliens.
The other two aliens made it into their ship and flew off, and the three men were left dumbfounded with extraterrestial life on their bumper.
Ed Watters later told the press, "They all jumped for it. Two of them made it. I hit the other one. The red object turned blue and sailed away at a very fast speed."
The officers were reasonably skeptic at first, but the evidence all added up, the long skid marks on the highway, the alien body itself lying dead in the road, a hairless, two-foot tall humanoid creature with eerie, round, dark eyes.
The officers reported it to their chief, who was just as skeptical to the tale as you would believe. He let the three men go home with the alien.
The media went ham on the story, they put the alien in the refrigerator and called it ”The atlanta constitution”.
A reporter asked them to bring the alien in, which they did, and had a veterinarian examine it. The local veterinarian said it did look like something ”out of this world”.
So the story went out on the news wire, announcing that a space alien had been captured.
Georgia county suddenly became the center of attention from pretty much all media, reporters went in droves to the small town and the papers were being printed left right and center.
At this point, it was too large to ignore, and authorities got involved. Dr. Herman Jones, the head of the Georgia crime lab, arrived on the scene, confiscated the creature, and took it to Emory University to be examined by two anatomy professors, Drs. Marlon Hines and W.A Mickle. The professors quickly determined it to be of terrestrial origin, a Capuchin monkey made to look alien by cutting off its tail and removing its fur with depilatory cream.
Dr. Hines commented that if the creature "came from Mars, they have monkeys on Mars.”
Dr. Mickle added, "If it's from outer space, they haven't invented anything new."
The three men confessed, and said that it was because of a bet. Ed Watters wagered his friends 10$ that he could get himself featured in the local paper in a week during a card game. Ed was fined 40$ and his friends got off scot free.
And that’s the story of three young men fooling America for ten dollars.
In the early fifth century, rampaging Goths swept through Italy. Inviolate for 1,100 years, Rome was sacked by the hordes in 410 AD. St Augustine's apologia, the City of God, set the tone for Christians for the next 16 centuries.
But the Rome of that era came close to suffering a far worse calamity. A small metallic asteroid descended from the sky, making a hypervelocity impact in an Apennine valley just 60 miles east of the city. This bus-sized lump of cosmic detritus vaporised as it hit the ground. In doing so, it released energy equivalent to around 200 kilotonnes of TNT: around 15 times the power of the atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima in 1945.
The data indicate that the crater was formed in about 412 AD, with an uncertainty of 40 years in either direction. Additional sampling may allow this spread to be reduced, but it is clear that the event occurred close to the fall of Rome: some time between 370 AD and 450 AD, when the city was again under attack, this time by the Vandals.
Even considering simply the energy involved in forming the known crater, it is sobering to ponder what might have happened should the impact zone have been on the flat coastal plains nearer Rome, rather than in the mountains. Scaling from nuclear bomb tests indicates that a 200 kilotonne surface explosion would devastate an area of 100 square kilometres.
Jabal Tariq (the source of the name Gibraltar) had 400,000 books in his library in mediaeval Spain (al Andalus)when the great monasteries of Europe could only account for scant dozens.
>Jabal Tariq (the source of the name Gibraltar) had 400,000 books in his library in mediaeval Spain (al Andalus)when the great monasteries of Europe could only account for scant dozens.
Considering how he spent only a couple of years in Spain before being called back to Damascus, his library had to be made with ripoffs of Visigothic libraries.
I a more serious note you may be talking about Al-Hakam II´s library.
>His personal library was of enormous proportions. Some accounts speak of him having more than 600,000 books. The catalogue of library books itself was 44 volumes long. Of special importance to Al-Hakam was history, and he himself wrote a history of al-Andalus. Following his death, Hajib Almanzor had all "ancient science" books destroyed.
Elagabalus was Roman Emperor from 218 to 222.
According to Cassius Dio, his most stable relationship seems to have been with his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, whom he referred to as his husband.
The Augustan History claims that he also married a man named Zoticus, an athlete from Smyrna, in a public ceremony at Rome. Elagabalus tried to have his presumed lover, the charioteer Hierocles, declared Caesar, while the athlete Aurelius Zoticus, was appointed to the non-administrative but influential position of Master of the Chamber, or Cubicularius. Cassius Dio reported that Elagabalus would paint his eyes, epilate his hair and wear wigs before prostituting himself in taverns, brothels, and even in the imperial palace:
>Finally, he set aside a room in the palace and there committed his indecencies, always standing nude at the door of the room, as the harlots do, and shaking the curtain which hung from gold rings, while in a soft and melting voice he solicited the passers-by. There were, of course, men who had been specially instructed to play their part. For, as in other matters, so in this business, too, he had numerous agents who sought out those who could best please him by their foulness. He would collect money from his patrons and give himself airs over his gains; he would also dispute with his associates in this shameful occupation, claiming that he had more lovers than they and took in more money.
In the 1700's, the world was amazed by an automated chess playing machine. Using intricate clockwork technology, this machine could play chess at the level of a human being. For decades, it toured around Europe, and played against some renowned chess players and famous figures (like Benjamin Franklin).
As you can probably guess, the machine was actually a hoax. Some guy was hidden inside the box.
Nobody here is pretending it was a real alien or anything. This is a quaint story and a glimpse into a bygone culture.