Tag Archives: siamese twins

Almanac – May11

1811 – Chang and Eng Bunker born.  Conjoined twin brothers whose condition and birthplace became the basis for the term “Siamese twins”.

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1812 – British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval  assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London.

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1894 – Martha Graham born. American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on the modern visual arts,  Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

She danced and choreographed for over seventy years –  “I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable.”

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1904 – Salvador Dalí born. Spanish surrealist painter,  best known for the striking and bizarre images. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to a self-styled “Arab lineage“, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

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1981 – Bob Marley died.  Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician.

He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for  The Wailers (1963-1974) and Bob Marley & The Wailers (1974–1981).

 Marley remains the most widely known and the best-selling performer of reggae music, having sold more than 75 million albums worldwide. He is also credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.

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Almanac – February 05

1908 –  Daisy and Violet Hilton born.  Pair of English  conjoined twins or Siamese Twins who toured in the U.S. sideshow and vaudeville circuit in the 1930s, and appeared in cult film Freaks.

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1914 – William S. Burroughs born. American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.”

His influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays.He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films.

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1941 – Banjo Paterson died.  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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Almanac – January 17

1874 – Chang and Eng Bunker died.  Conjoined twin brothers whose condition and birthplace became the basis for the term “Siamese twins“.

Chang, who had contracted pneumonia, died rather suddenly in his sleep. According to the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum“, Chang suffered a stroke the night that he died.

Eng awoke to find his brother dead, and called for his wife and children to attend to him. A doctor was summoned to perform an emergency separation, but he was too late. Eng died three hours later.

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1881 – Harry Price born. British psychic researcher and author, who gained public prominence for his investigations into psychical phenomena and his exposing of fake spiritualists. He is best known for his well-publicized investigation of the purportedly haunted Borley Rectory in Essex, England.

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1927 – Eartha Kitt born. American singer, actress, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of “C’est Si Bon” and the enduring Christmas novelty smash “Santa Baby“.

Orson Welles once called her the “most exciting woman in the world.”

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1977 – Gary Gilmore executed. An American who gained international notoriety for demanding that his own death sentence be fulfilled following two murders he committed in Utah.

Gilmore had requested that, following his execution, his eyes be used for transplant purposes. Within hours of the execution, two people received his corneas, and the seeds of a UK Punk classic were sown…

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Almanac – January 04

1341 – Wat Tyler born. A leader of the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.

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1900 – James Bond born.  American ornithologist, an expert on the birds of the Caribbean. His name was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming for his fictional spy, James Bond.

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1958 – Sputnik 1 fell  to Earth from orbit. The first artificial Earth satellite, it was a 585 mm (23 in) diameter shiny metal sphere, with four external radio antennae to broadcast radio pulses. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. It burned up as it fell from orbit upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after travelling about 60 million km (37 million miles) and spending 3 months in orbit.

Its said that the launch of Sputnik 1 inspired U.S. writer Herb Caen to coin the term “beatnik”  (in an article about the Beat Generation in the San Francisco Chronicle on 2 April 1958.)

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1959 – Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon. It became the first ever man-made object to reach the escape velocity of the Earth.  At a distance of 119,500 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft, thus making this probe also the first artificial comet. This glowing orange trail of gas, was visible over the Indian Ocean with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star for a few minutes.  Luna 1 passed within 5995 km of the Moon’s surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. A malfunction in the ground-based control system caused an error in the rocket’s burntime, and the spacecraft missed the target and flew by the Moon, then became the first man-made object to reach heliocentric orbit and was then dubbed a “new planet” and renamed Mechta (“Dream”).

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1960 – Albert Camus died. French Pied-Noir author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay “The Rebel” that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom.

Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked…”

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1969 – Daisy and Violet Hilton died. A pair of conjoined twins or Siamese Twins who toured in the U.S. sideshow circuit in the 1930s.  They left the sideshows and went into vaudeville as “The Hilton Sisters’ Revue”. Daisy dyed her hair blonde and they began to wear different outfits so they could be told apart. They had numerous affairs, failed attempts to get a marriage license and a couple of short marriages. In 1932, the twins appeared as themselves in the film Freaks. In 1951 they starred in Chained for Life, an exploitation film loosely based on their lives.

The Hiltons’ last public appearance was in 1961 at a drive-in cinema in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their tour manager abandoned them there, and with no means of transportation or income, they were forced to take a job in a nearby grocery store.

They died victims of the Hong Kong flu. According to a forensic investigation, Daisy died first; Violet died between two and four days later.

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1986 – Phil Lynott died.  Irish singer and musician who is best known for being the founding member, principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist of the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy.

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