Monthly Archives: February 2013

Almanac – February 22

1797 – The Last Invasion of Britain began,  near Fishguard, Wales,  by Revolutionary France during the War of the First Coalition. The brief campaign, which took place between 22 February and 24 February 1797, was the most recent effort by a foreign force that was able to land on British soil.

The invasion was the plan of General Lazare Hoche, who had devised a three-pronged attack on Britain in support of Irish Republicans under Wolfe Tone. Two forces would land in Britain as a diversionary effort, while the main body would land in Ireland. While poor weather and indiscipline halted two of the forces, the third, aimed at landing in Wales and marching on Bristol, went ahead.

The invasion force consisted of 1,400 troops from the La Legion Noire (The Black Legion) under the command of Irish American Colonel William Tate, 800 of whom were irregulars.

Upon landing discipline broke down amongst the irregulars, many of whom deserted to loot nearby settlements. The remaining troops were met by a quickly assembled group of around 500 British reservists, militia and sailors under the command of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor. After brief clashes with the local civilian population and Lord Cawdor’s forces on 23 February, Tate was forced into an unconditional surrender by 24 February.

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1900 – Luis Buñuel born. Spanish filmmaker . Often associated with the Surrealist movement of the 1920s, Buñuel created films in six decades, from the 1920s through the 1970s.

His work spans two continents, three languages, and nearly every film genre, including experimental film, documentary, melodrama, satire, musical, erotica, comedy, romance, costume dramas, fantasy, crime film, adventure, and western.

Despite this variety, filmmaker John Huston believed that, regardless of genre, a Buñuel film is so distinctive as to be instantly recognizable, or, as Ingmar Bergman put it, “Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films.”

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1918 – Robert Wadlow born. The tallest person in history for whom there is irrefutable evidence.  He  reached 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m) in height and weighed 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22.

His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.

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1950 – Genesis Breyer P-Orridge born. English singer-songwriter, musician, poet, writer and performance artist.

In the latter capacity s/he was the founder of the COUM Transmissions artistic collective, which operated from 1969 through to 1975, while as a musician, P-Orridge fronted the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle, from 1975 through to 1981, and then the acid house band, Psychic TV, from 1981 through to 1999.

An occultist, s/he is also a founding member of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

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1987 – Andy Warhol died. American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.

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Almanac – February 21

1848 – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto.  It has since been recognized as one of the world’s most influential political manuscripts.

Commissioned by the Communist League, it laid out the League’s purposes and program. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and present) and the problems of capitalism, rather than a prediction of communism’s potential future forms.

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1933 – Nina Simone born.  American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist.

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1965 – Malcolm X assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam.  As he prepared to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity , a disturbance broke out in the 400-person audience—a man yelled, “Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket!”

 As Malcolm X and his bodyguards moved to quiet the disturbance, a man seated in the front row rushed forward and shot him once in the chest with a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun.  Two other men charged the stage and fired semi-automatic handguns, hitting Malcolm X several times.  He was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm, shortly after he arrived at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

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Almanac – February 20

1757 – John ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller born. Squire of the hamlet of Brightling, in Sussex and  well known as a builder of follies, including a pyramid-shaped building (pictured below), often referred to as “The Pyramid“,  which was erected in the churchyard of the Church of St. Thomas à Becket in Brightling  as his own mausoleum.

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1927 – Sidney Poitier born. In 1963, he became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor  for his role in Lilies of the Field.

The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three successful films: To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, making him the top box-office star of that year.

In all three films, issues revolved around the race of the characters Poitier portrayed. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.

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1936 – Max Schreck died.  German actor,  most often remembered today for his lead role in the film Nosferatu (1922), in which he portrayed Count Orlok, Count Dracula effectively, but name changed for copyright reasons, and gave a truly creepy performance.

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1953 – Poison Ivy Rorschach born.  Guitarist, songwriter, arranger, producer, and occasional vocalist who co-founded the American garage punk band The Cramps.

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2005 – Hunter S. Thompson died. American author and journalist who  became known internationally with the publication of Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1967), for which he had spent a year living and riding with the Angels, experiencing their lives and hearing their stories first hand.

Previously a relatively conventional journalist, with the publication in 1970 of “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” he became a counter cultural figure, with his own brand of New Journalism he termed “Gonzo”, an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.

The work he remains best known for is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1972), a rumination on the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement.

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Ghosts Laid In Water

Conjouring troublesome ghosts into bottles and consigning them to watery graves used to be a common practice. Is it ever done nowadays ?

Here’s an example from the Rev. Elias Owen

Lady Jeffrey’s Spirit.

This lady could not rest in her grave because of her misdeeds, and she troubled people dreadfully; at last she was persuaded or enticed to contract her dimensions, and enter into a bottle.  

She did so, after appearing in a good many hideous forms; but when she got into the bottle, it was corked down securely, and the bottle was cast into the pool  underneath the Short Bridge, Llanidloes, and there the lady was to remain until the ivy that grew up the buttresses should overgrow the sides of the bridge, and reach the parapet.  

The ivy was dangerously near the top of the bridge when the writer was a schoolboy, and often did he and his companions crop off its tendrils as they neared the prescribed limits for we were all terribly afraid to release the dreaded lady out of the bottle.  

In the year 1848, the old bridge was blown up, and a new one built instead of it.  A schoolfellow, whom we called Ben, was playing by the aforesaid pool when the bridge was undergoing reconstruction, and he found by the river’s side a small bottle, and in the bottle was a little black thing, that was never quiet, but it kept bobbing up and down continually, just as if it wanted to get out. 

Ben kept the bottle safely for a while, but ere long he was obliged to throw it into the river, for his relations and neighbours came to the conclusion that that was the very bottle that contained Lady Jeffrey’s Spirit, and they also surmised that the little black restless thing was nothing less than the lady herself.  Ben consequently resigned the bottle and its contents to the pool again, there to undergo a prolonged, but unjust, term of imprisonment.

Source – Welsh  Folk-Lore – A Collection Of The  Folk-Tales And Legends Of North Wales
Being The Prize Essay Of The National  Eisteddfod 1887

Rev. Elias Owen

Follow this thread on the Holy Wells & Water Lore Forum

http://holywells.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=154

 

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Almanac – February 19

1896 – André Breton  born. French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism“.

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1940 – Smokey Robinson born. American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the popular Motown vocal group The Miracles, for which he also served as the group’s chief songwriter and producer.

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1994 – Derek Jarman died. English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. Films include Sebastiane, Jubilee and The Last of England.

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2001 – Charles Trenet died. French singer and songwriter, most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s, though his career continued through the 1990s.

In an era in which it was exceptional for a singer to write their  own material, Trenet wrote prolifically and declined to record any but his own songs.

His best known songs include “Boum !”, “La Mer”, “Y’a d’la joie”, “Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?”, “Ménilmontant” and “Douce France”. His catalogue of songs is enormous, numbering close to a thousand.

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Almanac – February 18

1478 – George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, was “executed in private” at the Tower of London.
A tradition grew up that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. This may have originated in a joke, based on his reputation as a heavy drinker. However, a butt was equal to three hogsheads — 477.3 litres (105 imperial gallons) easily enough to drown in.

A body, believed to be that of Clarence, which was later exhumed, showed no indications of beheading, the normal method of execution for those of noble birth at that time.

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1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft,  doing so as part of the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

On the same trip, which covered 72 miles in a Ford Trimotor airplane from Bismarck, Missouri to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes.

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1941 – Irma Thomas born. American singer,  known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans“.  A contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but while never experiencing  their level of commercial success, she still  has a large cult following among soul aficionados.

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Almanac – February 17

1600 –  Giordano Bruno  burned alive, for heresy, at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome.

Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. His cosmological theories went beyond the Copernican model in proposing that the Sun was essentially a star, and moreover, that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds populated by other intelligent beings.

The free-thinking Roman Catholic church naturally embraced such views with the  same sort of enthusiasm that they now reserve for condoms, and, after the  Roman Inquisition  found him guilty of heresey,  he was burnt at the stake.

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1864 – Banjo Paterson born. Australian bush poet, journalist and author, he wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood.

Paterson’s more notable poems include “Waltzing Matilda”, “The Man from Snowy River” and “Clancy of the Overflow”.

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1909 – Geronimo died. Prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars.

“Geronimo” was the name given to him during a battle with Mexican soldiers. His Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English.

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1982 – Thelonious Monk died. American jazz pianist and composer considered one of the giants of American music.

Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy”, “‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t”.

Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70.

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