Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #15

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #15

…, the Governor views A.O. as a victim of Jobian proportions, losing vitality, family, treasures and health, nearly as fast as the biblical man of God in the Old Testament…

On this cloudy cool day in October of 1958, the lone figure of George Lewis watches from the distance, black trench-coat and wide-brimmed hat cloaking his identity. Will the death of Maggie Lou seal his and her secret beneath five feet of dirt? He has no way of knowing who knows what. He prays a silent prayer that will likely be ignored by the man upstairs.

Former States Attorney, now Governor of the newly dubbed “Sunshine State”, Wilbert Dexter Hopkins clears his desk of the day’s papers, just as his secretary did to his schedule, freeing this late afternoon for an important meeting. His duties in the Florida’s highest office vary greatly from when he was a lead prosecutor. He now leads an entire state instead of star witnesses.

Today, however, the two elected positions become one. On the very same day he had granted special leave for Alpha Omega Campbell, he meets with the key players in the doctor’s interment at Starke; he being the prosecutor who doggedly pursued the old man’s conviction, disregarding the health of the defendant or compelling evidence to the contrary. But he was two years younger then and on the fast-track to political affluence. And at the age of 30, respect for your elders exists in the void between pre-adolescent youth and middle age. Thus the quest for career wins out over decency; the word “decent” does not appear in the Alternative Lawyer’s Handbook.

Now, two years older chronologically, but ten years more humane and doubly decent, W.D. Hopkins has a change of heart. Curiously, he views A.O. as a victim of Jobian proportions, losing vitality, family, treasures and health, nearly as fast as the biblical man of God in the Old Testament.

In his large office, at the confluence of Pensacola, Adams, Monroe Streets and Apalachee Parkway, in the state capitol complex, are five chairs. They will be filled by, from left to right: The new States Attorney, Jim Stack; Mrs. Addie Gray, Audrey Franich’s mother; Sam Goldblatt III, he of Holiday Inns, invited at the insistence of banker Lewis; Warden Hayes; and an A.O. Campbell advocate, representing the Southeastern Medical Society, Dr. Henry Palmer.

This is not a formal hearing, i.e. recorded for posterity, though perhaps it should have, considering the ramifications.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #15


page 15

Down Under Baddies – WIF Into Aussie History

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Notorious Australian

Outlaws

The Wild West of the United States sets the stage for famous gunslinger films, but Australia is a land where convicts were exiled, creating the opportunity for new lives of crime to get established. Today, we profile the most notorious (and some lesser known) colorful miscreants in Australian history…

10. “Mad Dog” Daniel Morgan

With a short and violent career, “Mad Dog” Daniel Morgan, born in 1830 in New South Wales, was an unpredictable outlaw. Unlike many bushrangers who became folk heroes, this madman of Australia behaved more like a war criminal. Ranging across Victoria, the widely despised Morgan ended up with a bounty of a thousand pounds on his life. He hated the police so much that he injured a man’s wife badly by forcing her into a fire just because the man was too friendly to law enforcement for Morgan’s liking.

“Mad Dog” was known for taking hostages. In one case, he made Chinese hostages sing for his entertainment due to his curiosity over the foreign language, then shot one in the arm. In another situation, he let a female hostage go free because he was so impressed at her gumption when she out and out slapped him across the face. This incident would be his last, for soon after letting the hostage go, she summoned help, which came as a combined force of police and armed neighbors of the victims. Morgan appeared with three hostages, but was soon shot to death. Beheaded after death, he became the subject of phrenological study after a death mask was fashioned from his face.

9. “Captain Thunderbolt” Frederick Wordsworth Ward

The longest free roaming bushranger in Australia’s history, “Captain Thunderbolt” Frederick Wordsworth Ward, upheld better conduct than most bushrangers, earning him the nickname “the Gentleman Bushranger.” Born in 1835 in New South Wales, the somewhat respected outlaw was the son of convict Michael Ward and the youngest of the 10 children Ward senior had with his wife Sophia. After being sentenced to the harsh prison conditions on Cockatoo Island for his role in theft, namely receiving stolen horses, Ward faced 10 years but was released early on account of his model behavior.

Ward became involved with a woman named Mary Ann Bugg, who was of partially of Aboriginal Australian heritage, and the couple had two children. However, the conditions of his release were broken when he failed to return for his quarterly muster, a requirement comparable to parole. Therefore, he was returned to Cockatoo Island to serve out the remainder of his sentence in full, plus three years for riding a stolen horse. His escape from Cockatoo Island included a chase where he was shot in the leg but survived. In the end, “Captain Thunderbolt” was fatally shot at Kentucky Creek on May 25, 1870.  The outlaw’s death was only the beginning of the legends.

8. Alexander Pearce

Originally sent to Australia for stealing shoes, Alexander Pearce was a bushranger with one creepy backstory. Pearce became a notorious cannibal bushranger in Australia following his humble start as a petty criminal. Born in 1790 in Ireland’s County Monaghan, Pearce ended up in what is now Tasmania (then called Van Diemen’s Land) following his 1819 sentence. He began a string of crimes in his new location of exile before being arrested again and sent to the Macquarie Harbor Penal Colony on tiny Sarah Island. After Pearce and seven more convicts escaped the colony, conditions were tough.

Starvation tough, in fact. Survival became increasingly difficult until, reportedly, the escaped men began to kill and devour each other. By alliance, brute force, and by luck, Pearce ended up being the sole survivor of the hungry massacre until his recapture. Body parts were found in his pockets, and Pearce was to be Tasmania’s first person to confess to cannibalism. Before being hanged at the Hobart Town Gaol on July 19, 1824, Pearce is said to have described cannibalism in the following glowing terms: “Man’s flesh is delicious. It tastes far better than fish or pork.”

7. Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read

A more modern outlaw in contrast to the rest of these accounts, Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read was one of the most violent men in Australia’s history, carrying out gangland killings and torture that would have branded him a war criminal had he been in a nation’s armed forces. In addition to his acts of violence in Australia’s underworld that including cutting or burning off the toes of his enemies and allegedly murdering targets, Read was also a children’s book author.

Released from Pentridge Prison in Melbourne in November of 1991 under a shroud of secrecy when his sentence for arson, criminal property destruction, and shooting a drug dealer ended, this “urban bushranger” diversified his portfolio, developing a side business of selling paintings. Interestingly, he has swung between dismissive comments about Ned Kelly (who was also imprisoned at Pentridge), describing him as overrated, and also hailed the notorious bushranger as a folk hero like many do. When it comes to “Chopper’s” paintings, Ned Kelly often appears, albeit with the type of tattoos sported by the painter himself. The works of the outlaw painter can fetch high prices at over 6,000 Australian dollars each. A movie about the notorious criminal, who died in 2013, was released in 2000 starring erstwhile “Hulk” Eric Bana.

6. “Bold Jack” John Donohoe

A folk hero for his bravado against the law, “Bold Jack” John Donohoe was Irish born but transported to Australia after being convicted for ‘intent to commit a felony’. Once in Australia, “Bold Jack” and two associates robbed multiple bull teams hauling goods along the road between Windsor and Sydney. All three were rather harshly sentenced to death for their property crimes — not once, but twice. Bold Jack wasn’t having any of it, escaping from his captors and fleeing for his life. For the following two and a half years, the outlaw survivalist became Australia’s most famous bushranger.

He did not cower as stayed one step ahead of the law, but continued his exploits with his gang of assorted bushrangers dedicated to plundering and wilderness survival. A reward had been put up, but with little result. By September 1830, a combined force of soldiers and police officers caught Bold Jack and his gang at the outskirts of Cambelltown. Donohoe taunted the police during the confrontation, using highly insulting language. Eventually, he was fatally shot by Trooper Muggleston. After his death, the legend lived on, with art completed in his honor and folk songs written about his short life.

5. Harry Power

Harry Johnson, known by the alias Harry Power, was an Irishman well known to the police for petty crimes until he got a 14-year sentence at Pentridge Prison for stealing a horse. He is known for being something of an outlaw mentor to Ned Kelly, whom he visited when Kelly was a boy, but also as a “gently ruthless” bushranger. By that we mean he took what he wanted and ran to freedom but, importantly, he never ended a human life. The gruff looking man was quite clever, with exceptionally humorous aspects to his most daring escapes. With regard to that 14-year sentence for stealing a horse, Harry Power was just not up for it so he escaped in a cart piled with garbage.

Later, when three young men encountered the outlaw and declared their intention to arrest Harry Power… without realizing they were talking to Harry Power. The wanted man pretended to be desperately terrified of this rogue bushranger. To throw them further off the truth that their quarry was standing right before them, Power requested that they protect him from this lawless man. Joining them, he soon robbed them of everything they had — weapons, clothes, and all — and sent them home in the nude. Power was sentenced to another 14 years in Pentridge when he stole a golden watch, then hired an agent to tell the owner he could have it back at triple its original price. Unfortunately for Power, the agent lead police straight to him. After his release, Power took jobs including gameskeeping and ship duties, but was penniless upon his death in 1891.

4. John Anderson

Known in his day as “Black Jack,” John Anderson was a brutal yet often charismatic outlaw was African-American but became Australia’s only known pirate. He is known for robberies backed with death threats, killing Aboriginals and enslaving tribe member women. The pirate might be considered something of a coastal “bushranger,” original hailing from Massachusetts, where he worked as a whaler. He took a trip to Australia on the ship The Vigilant, arriving in 1826 in what is currently known as Albany in Western Australia.

Quickly blamed for the death of a ship’s crewman from a different vessel in a store, Black Jack fled, stole a boat with several crew members, and got to the Recherche Archipelago. There they settled and hunted seals, selling their skins, and also pillaged ships loaded with supplies on their way to Hobart and Sydney. Black Jack is described in court records dating to 1835 as a “master of a sealing boat” who took money from sailors who would be murdered if they refused to give up their currency. It is believed that John Anderson was slain by his crew members, with his body and buried treasure hidden in the elaborate limestone cave systems of Middle Island, the settling place of the pirate gang.

3. Joseph Bolitho Johns, AKA “Moondyne Joe”

Joseph Bolitho Johns was born in England in 1826, living until 1900 was the best known outlaw of Western Australia. The notorious English convict was better known as “Moondyne Joe,” named after the Avon Valley, a remote region of the Darling Range that was called “Moondyne” by the Aboriginal Australians. The crime that got him arrested in 1848 was not huge — stealing about two days worth of meat and bread from a house — but Johns’s attitude toward the judge was significant, to say the least. The punishment was equally grand, with four years served in an English prison followed by a ticket to Western Australia.

After arrival he was granted conditional parole, with work as a horse trapper soon to follow. However, nothing had changed and the fledgling bushranger stole a horse, was arrested, then escaped on the same horse that was being held as evidence (albeit fitted with riding gear stolen from the judge himself). The following years saw repeat offenses, followed by either good behavior or a baffling escape. A special escape-proof cell was set up, but the tricky bushranger got away from that lockup as well. While paroled later on, Moondyne Joe married a widow and stayed on the straight and narrow before running afoul of the law yet again 20 years later. He got old for a bushranger, dying of dementia at 74.

2. Martin Cash

Martin Cash was originally from Ireland, where he committed the crime of housebreaking, for which he received a seven-year sentence. Cash’s personal claim was that his crime actually involved shooting a man in the rear when the man was kissing Cash’s own mistress. Upon being sent to Australia for his misdeed, he became known for his exceptional escape skills and also for marrying a female convict. Cash obtained a ticket of leave, but was soon arrested again, being sentenced to seven more years for theft. He escaped an incredible three times from Port Arthur, but was returned with four years of additional sentencing after being on the lam for two years after one of his escapes. Then, Cash made another escape, going with two bushrangers who helped him avoid prison guards.

Stealing from residences and inns gave the small gang a reasonable living, while their non-violent methods of extracting bounty added to their reputation — so much so that when Cash visited Hobart Town and was soon caught, public pressure helped his death sentence for slaying a pursuer be commuted to transportation for life, with 10 years at Norfolk Island. In 1854, Cash was allowed to marry County Clare convict Mary Bennett. Cash was renowned for hat making. In 1856, he was conditionally pardoned and traveled to New Zealand for four years. Upon his return, he recruited a writer to prepare his biography.

1. Edward “Ned” Kelly

The most notorious gunman in Australian history, Ned Kelly needs no introduction. Still, no list about Australian outlaws would be complete without Ned, so let’s profile some lesser known facts about the man in the metal mask. Born in 1855 and executed in 1880, Ned came from a large family. His father was a livestock thief from Ireland who married his employer’s daughter, with whom he had eight children. The notorious Ned was one of their three boys. The family of his mother was under investigation for livestock thefts, and soon Ned was not only working but helping to encroach on land and eventually steal livestock. Visits from police stoked the perception of police persecution held by the Kelly family. While Ned was an honorable boy, even saving the life of another young boy, in adulthood he strayed significantly, allegedly assaulting a Chinese man and spending a few days in jail over the incident.

When his alcoholic father died, Kelly joined his new stepfather in nefarious activities, ultimately spending three years in prison for accepting a stolen horse from an accomplice. After an unconfirmed claim that Ned Kelly had shot and injured a police officer, Kelly and his gang were classified as wanted outlaws and put up for reward, ending up on the run across Australia’s outback. In an ensuing shootout, the bushranger killed a police officer named Thomas Lonigan, then another, and even took a police station captive with his gang. A wild showdown ensued when the Kelly Gang confronted their pursuers in terrifying and medieval-looking armor fashioned out of ploughshares. After gang members killed a police informant and besieged a train station, 60 people were taken hostage at the Glenrowan Inn, which was set on fire by police after the hostages were released. The gang was also under the influence of alcohol, causing them to attack recklessly. Upon capture after being shot in the legs following his escape from the fire, Kelly was sentenced to death for police murder.


Down Under Baddies –

WIF Into Aussie History

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #13

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #13

…Your letters stopped comin’ over a year ago…

Post-funeral mingling continues…

“We’ll all be missin’ her, Doc, just like we’ve been missin’ you,” offers Edwina Stephens, longtime Frenchtown resident and friend to the family. A warm embrace is given to all in the greeting line.

Second in sequence is J. Kenty Johnson, who along with A.O., was one of the first black doctors in the former Confederacy; numbered lower than 100 for the longest time. “You had the finest possible woman, ‘specially for a doctor, A.O. A single man like me can sure ‘preciate that.”

“Thank you, Johnnie. I know I couldn’ta made it through those early years without her. She was a blessin’ to me.”

“To everyone,” it is agreed.

The slow moving, single file line produces a surprise: Hosea Campbell, the wayward older brother of the doctor, who still looks like his vocation, a purveyor of prostitution. He saunters up respectfully.

“I’ma sorry that I ain’t been ‘round these years, Alfrey,” he speaks to his brother using a nickname only the Quincy Campbells use; Alfrey actually being A.O.’s given name. It wasn’t dignified enough.

“How’d Jersey been treatin’ you, Hosey?” asks Alpha, not expecting what would be coming out of his mouth next.

“Oh well, I’m doin’ okay,” Hosey says, changing to a whisper, “but Angie is worried sick ‘bout you. Your letters stopped comin’ over a year ago. She’s thinkin’ you forgot about her.”

The doctor discretely responds in muted words, “Tell Angela and her mother that I’ll be contactin’ them soon. I was fearin’ the warden’s been spying on my mail, don’t need his knowin’ ‘bout Camille.”

Secrets-001

Secrets are undisclosed facts. You would swear that these liberties with the truth would make a heck of a good story, if they did not make such painful truth. And it’s not as though things got this complicated overnight. Years of careless planning have contributed to current circumstances. 1919 was one interesting year, in the deep dark past and the culprit in several indiscreet situations by multiple offenders.

“Camille is married, did ya know?” Hosey is updating the New Jersey news, as they shunt to an unoccupied corner.

It has caught the doctor off balance. “Married?” There is a slight trembling in his voice, reflecting a tinge of unwarranted possessiveness.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #13


page 14

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #2

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #2

… “My Maggie died this morning, Frank.” Simply stated…

In the meantime, this is what we believed to have happened in 1958:

A solitary figure sits huddled against the back corner of a room whose corners are all too near to one another. The pungentcandle-flame light of a dwindling candle wavers forth and back, barely illuminating the tattered pages of an obviously well-read leather-bound book. The once surgically skilled hands thumb painfully, yet knowingly to the Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 4.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,” thus saith the Lord our God, by way of Alpha Omega Campbell, a good and faithful servant. He goes to his knees to pray for the soul of his dearest Maggie Lou, who has gone from this Earth to a place where the pains of loneliness and bitterness melt away like the wax of her husband’s flickering light.

So engrossed in his prayer time is he, that the looming ominous footsteps of a prison guard go unnoticed.

“I thought I smelled something down this way.” Florida State Prison at Starke Guard, Frank Lightfoot, whose six and a half foot frame makes it hard to live up to his surname, catches this harmless prisoner of the state of Florida in the act of breaking lights out order–once again. “Are you making your own candles Old Man, or is your wife smuggling them in for you?”

“You going to put me on the chain gang?”

A.O. remains on his knees, the warm trail of saline sorrow reaching his dignified jaw.

“By the way, I haven’t seen your wife for a few days.” Guard Lightfoot actually had taken a liking to this Negro couple, especially considering the rest of this cold institution’s population consists of murderers, thieves, rapists and other assorted dregs.

The same could be said of Doc Campbell, who when dealing with Frank Lightfoot, felt as close to being human as one can under the circumstances. He even got the big man to get his own Bible, albeit a Gideon from a desk drawer at a Jacksonville motel… and read selected gold nugget passages that the doctor knows best, then applying it to what he knows of the guard’s life.

My Maggie died this morning, Frank.” Simply stated.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #2


page 3

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 240

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 240

…“I don’t know how NBC is explaining the broadcast interruption…..do you Sam?”…

“I don’t know how NBC is explaining the broadcast interruption… do you Sam?”

“Yeah their telephone banks were lit up, but operators were told to tell them that it was related to the electrical blackout, which technically it was. But I was told that they were back on the air for your explanation and altar call, Billy.”

“If that is the case, then untold millions heard the truth from my lips.”

“I also heard that the main sponsor, LUCKY STRIKE, was quite pleased with the viewer numbers.”

“A tobacco company for a sponsor, isn’t that ironic? Well God can help you or any other believers ditch that nasty habit Sam.”

“I smoke menthol Billy; they say it is better for you.”

“I see actors and actress smoking them in movies all the time, so someone thinks it’s cool. But YOU know better than to blow smoke my way!” Graham errs on the side of caution when it comes to vises. “Speaking of habits, did ancient peoples smoke cigarettes, Willard?”

“I am not an anthropologist Reverend Graham, but ancients were more concerned about their next meal, let alone acquiring a senseless habit. As we, well me anyway, have learned, that Devil will do anything to keep us slaves to something, anything, even believing that our species started out as sea creatures, then fins into legs to walk on land, then two legs get longer, we grow hair and stand upright, hang around in trees and finally decide to get smarter than apes and invent things; like cigarettes.”

“Now if that isn’t the case for creation! A nonsensical progression like that makes a good preacher proud.

“I never used to pigeonhole life on this planet, really care much or give it a label, but after discovering that 20,000 year cap, intelligent design is the only reasonable explanation for it.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 202

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 238

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 238

…Willard Libby, the “who” in this big fuss…

Willard Libby, the “who” in this big fuss, has slogged his way past doubting peers, physical abduction and injury, continuous peril and spiritual conviction to come to this place. Because of him, children will be taught and the world will know, that this incredible planet we call Earth and the living things that inhabit it, are not some evolutionary accident, millions upon millions of years in the making.

Six days and a rest…? Not literally but closer to the truth than the perpetuated dishonesty of the Great Deception.

fly on the wallHe has virtually been a man without a voice during this entire account. We had a window into his subconscious mind while he was shuttered away in the mental hospital. He then goes into months of hiding. A fly on the wall at that University safe house may well be bored into hibernation. I am sure we missed some engrossing conversations between he and Martin Kamen, particularly on the subject of organic radiocarbon half-life. Neither one of them could come up with any evidence to refute Libby’s assertion that life on Earth has no more than 20,000 years of biological age to it. And we would be on the edge of our seats when they examined and re-examined a partial fossilized jawbone of an Ethiopian hominid.

As a result of worldwide exposure, the University of Chicago has received unprecedented credibility in most scientific circles. As the formulae and raw numbers of revised carbon dating sift down through knowledgeable strata, conclusions become obvious and irrefutable. The U of C community rallies to the fore, realizing that a Nobel Prize may be the real result.

In certain other bastions of academia, nothing will move them off of their long held and indeed cherished evolutionary membership. Even without conspiratorial help from the most fallen of angels, they will carry their stubbornness ahead into time immemorial.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 200

Fake History – WIF Myths and Misconceptions

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Historic Myths

and Misconceptions

Even though history is, in theory, a fixed and unchangeable field of study, in practice it evolves all the time. Things and events that we were sure to have happened can be turned on their head by a single archaeological discovery or a reinterpretation based on new facts.

It is after these changes in historical perspective that certain notions, myths, and misconceptions stick around. In other cases, however, it could just be that not so historically accurate movies have created them as such for dramatic effect. Whatever the case may be, we are here to set the records straight for 10 of them…

10. The Viking Name

The Norsemen, more commonly known as the Vikings, were a group of peoples from Northern Europe, particularly the Scandinavian Penninsula, Denmark, and Iceland. They made a name for themselves from the 8th to 11th centuries AD mostly by pillaging, enslaving, but also trading with other European and Middle Eastern peoples.

The most common misconception about the Vikings is in regard to their very name. The term Viking didn’t appear in the English language until the middle of the 19th century. There are several possible origins for the term; the most widely accepted being that it came from vikingr, an Old Norse term meaning to raid or piracy. A similar theory proposes that the term Vikings refers to men rowing in shifts.

What’s more, the Norsemen had different names to the different people they came in contact with. The Germans knew them as the Ascomanni (ashmen), the Irish knew them as Lochlannach (lake people), while the Slavs, Byzantines, and Arabs know them as the Rus. The fact of the matter is that we don’t really know what they called themselves. Nevertheless, the Vikings that ended up living in Ireland began calling themselves Ostmen (east men) at some point.

9. Napoleon Was Short

There’s a common misconception that Napoleon Bonaparte was really short in stature. This myth is so ingrained in today’s collective consciousness that we even have a psychological issue named after it: the Napoleon Complex. This type of inferiority complex manifests itself in some shorter people, particularly men, where they feel the need to overcompensate by exhibiting aggressive and/or domineering social behavior.

As far as the actual Napoleon was concerned, he was 5-foot-2, to be exact. That’s not particularly tall. But the fact of the matter is that he wasn’t shorter than the average Frenchman from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. So, why all the fuss about his height, then? The answer lies in the difference between the measuring systems of France and England at the time. Both nations used inches in their measurements, but the French inch was longer than its British counterpart.

In reality, Napoleon was 5-foot-6 in British inches and 5-foot-2 in French. At some point, a confusion was made, and people started believing that Napoleon was 5-foot-2 in British inches. To make matters worse, Napoleon was often surrounded by taller guards, making him seem smaller by comparison. But the Imperial Guard had height requirements, which account for Napoleon’s by-name of le petit caporal or the little corporal. 

8. Benjamin Franklin Discovered Electricity

Many people around the world are under the misconception that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity during his famous Kite Experiment. And while Franklin was a renowned scientist of his time with an interest in many areas of study and an inventor of many things, such as bifocal glasses, he did not discover electricity.

In fact, scientists of the 17th century had been experimenting with static electricity. What Benjamin Franklin did, however, was to prove that electricity had both positive and negative elements and that lightning was, in fact, a type of electricity. His initial idea for the experiment was to use a 30-foot rod. But after two years, he decided on the silk kite, instead. Little did he know at the time, however, that a French naturalist by the name Thomas-Francois Dalibard did conduct the experiment as Franklin originally intended — on May 10, 1752, just one month before Franklin. Dalibard concluded that Franklin’s hypothesis was right.

7. Peasants Ignited the French Revolution

Revolutions are almost always idealized as an event in a nation’s history where the lower class people took up arms against a brutish and authoritarian regime. Yet, as history has shown us time and time again, for a revolution to be successful, it oftentimes requires more than just the peasantry. The same thing can also be said about the French Revolution of 1789.

Explaining the actual causes and how the revolution went down is something way beyond the scope of this list. Nevertheless, the common “knowledge” is that impoverished people began the revolution. There were several notable uprisings prior to the revolution, when the people of Paris rebelled against the government. But every time, the middle class prevented things from degenerating further. In 1789, however, things were different. The middle class and lower nobility, themselves — dissatisfied with the high taxes and levels of corruption — joined the commoners. Thus, sealing the fate of the French monarchy.

6. Hernan Cortes and the Aztec Empire

At its height during the early 16th century, the Aztec Empire managed to cover much of what is now central Mexico. It encompassed an area of over 52,000 square miles and a population of around 11 million. Though relatively young, the Mesoamerican nation managed to gather a lot of wealth and expand its reach in a short amount of time. This, however, also attracted a lot of hatred from the people they subjugated, as well as the attention of the Europeans stationed in Cuba.

Hearing reports of strange stone monuments and brightly dressed and golden-covered natives on the mainland, the Spanish Governor of Cuba, Diego Velasquez, organized an expedition comprised of a fleet of 11 ships, 500 soldiers, and 100 sailors. At the head of this expedition was Hernan Cortes. And even though the expedition was later canceled, Cortes sailed to the mainland anyway.

The historical myth surrounding Hernan Cortes is that he, alongside his men, managed to bring the mighty Aztec Empire to its knees all by themselves. Truth be told, they were sporting state-of-the-art weapons such as crossbows, steel swords, guns, pikes, cannons, and full plate armor. They also had horses, something which the natives had never encountered before. All of these weapons made the Spanish hundreds, if not thousands of years ahead technologically, proving their worth time and time again on the battlefield — mainly as morale breakers for the enemy.

Nevertheless, this would not have been enough to bring down an Empire — let alone in a timespan of just three years. It was by employing the help of several subjugated tribes and their armies, as well as smallpox that was introduced several years earlier that managed to do the job — alongside Cortez and his heavily-armed men, of course.

5. Richard the Lionheart was English

Richard I of England, later known as Richard the Lionheart, was born on September 8, 1157 in Oxford. He was the son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Second only to Henry VIII, Richard I was among the most famous kings of England. Among his most notable achievements was his involvement during the Third Crusade (1189-1192) alongside Frederick I Barbarossa, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor, and Philip II of France.

The campaign was ultimately a failure, with the Crusaders not being able to take the Holy City of Jerusalem. There were, however, several victories along the way, most notably the capture of the city of Messina in Sicily, the capture of the island of Cyprus, the capture of Acre in what is now present-day Israel, and the Battle of Arsuf. Though not able to fulfill its intended objective, the Crusade created a Christian foothold in the Middle Eastern mainland.

Even though he was born in England, Richard the Lionheart became the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou at age 11 — both in France. Among Richard’s other deeds were two rebellions against his own father, after which he became sole heir of the Kingdom of England, as well as Normandy, Maine, and Aquitaine. He died in 1199, leading a siege at the age of 42, and throughout his life he only set foot in the British Isles twice for a total of six months. He never learned how to speak English and, prior to the crusade, he emptied the Crown’s coffers and sold off many lands and titles in preparation for the campaign.

4. Chivalry

People, by and large, have a fairly idealistic view of history. Many of us like to think that the past was a simpler, nicer, and overall better time. But this is a common misconception so deeply ingrained into our common consciousness that even historians sometimes have trouble distancing themselves from it. Many of us oftentimes forget just how war-ridden the world was or how little access most people had to so many things that we take for granted today.

The purpose of history is, or should be, to examine events and systems in the most objective way possible. To see what worked and what didn’t, and how we can use those things to improve the future. History shouldn’t be about keeping score or grudges, nor should we look at it through a nostalgic lens so as to better fit with our idealistic point of view.

One example of this is chivalry. Popularized by numerous medieval and modern novels, stories, and epic poems, chivalrous knights are often seen as valiant, noble, courteous men, defined by their high-minded consideration, particularly towards women. Yet, the reality is quite different. The origins of the term and concept stem back to the 10th century France. It was introduced by the church as an attempt at regulating the endemic violence in French society. The term comes from chevalier, or knight, which in turn, derives from cheval, or horse.

In reality, these knights were quite violent, with numerous accounts of sacking and pillaging towns, villages, monasteries, as well as regularly committing acts of murder, torture, rape, and so on. In short, chivalry evolved to become somewhat of a code of conduct in warfare and had almost nothing to do with what we now consider chivalrous today.

3. The Infamous Vomitoriums

According to popular culture, a vomitorium was a room in Ancient Rome where Romans would go to purge during feasts so as to continue gorging themselves and make room for more. But while the actual Romans did love their food and drink, the purpose of the vomitorium was a completely different one that had nothing to do with vomiting.

For the actual Romans of old, vomitoriums were the entrances and exits to stadiums, arenas, and theaters. They were dubbed as such by the Roman writer and philosopher Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius in his work entitled Saturnalia. He called them this based on how these exits spewed crowds of people onto the streets.

It was sometime during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the term was reintroduced with its wrong connotations. In his 1923 novel Antic Hay, author Aldous Huxley writes about vomitoriums as literal places for people to vomit.

2. Vincent van Gogh Cut off His Own Ear

Many people around the world have seen Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. He painted it shortly after returning from the hospital in 1889. The official version of the story is that, in a fit of madness, the disturbed Dutch painter severed his left earlobe with a razor blade shortly before Christmas 1888. He then wrapped it in a pieced of newspaper or cloth, walked to a nearby brothel and handed it to a prostitute, who immediately fainted.

He then went back home, went to sleep and almost bled to death before the police found him the next morning in a blood-drenched bed. Being unconscious, he was taken to the hospital. When he woke up, van Gogh asked for his friend, the French artist Paul Gauguin, who refused to see him.

Nevertheless, two German historians have proposed a different version of events. The two argued that, after reviewing numerous witness accounts and letters, the official story had plenty of inconsistencies. Their interpretation points to Paul Gauguin, van Gogh’s friend, who was a keen fencer and, during a heated argument, lopped off his earlobe with a sword. The two made a so-called pact of silence where Gauguin was looking to avoid prosecution while van Gogh wanted to keep his friend, with whom he was infatuated.

A somewhat recent discovery, however, seems to disprove (or at least significantly alter) both the original version and the one proposed by the two German historians. A letter written by Dr. Felix Rey explains in full detail the extent of the wounds. As it turns out, the entire left ear was sliced off, not just the earlobe, as it was previously assumed.

1. Emperor Nero Played the Fiddle as Rome Burned

For an entire week in 64 AD, the citizens of Ancient Rome watched helplessly as their city burned to the ground. As with many similar tragedies, ordinary people who’ve lost everything often look for someone to blame. Old stories say that Nero, himself, set fire to the city, after which he climbed on the city walls and began playing the fiddle and reciting long-lost poems about the destruction of Troy. Truth be told, Emperor Nero was not a particularly good man. Going from cruelty to incest, murder, and the like, Nero is considered by many to be the Biblical Antichrist.

But when it comes to the fire of 64 AD, Nero didn’t sit idly by or play his instrument as the city burned. He was actually at his Palace in Antium when the fire began. When news reached him, Nero rushed back to the city where he personally coordinated the firefighting efforts during the first night. He also opened all public buildings and his own private gardens to act as temporary shelters. In addition, Nero imported grain from all nearby cities and offered it to the citizens at only a fraction of the cost.


Fake History –

WIF Myths and Misconceptions