Tag Archives: undead

Almanac – May 26

1647 – Alse Young, hanged in Hartford, Connecticut, became the first known  person to be  executed as a witch in the British American colonies.

Very little is recorded of Alse Young; her existence is only known through her reputation as a witch. She is believed to have been the wife of John Young, who bought a small parcel of land in Windsor in 1641, sold it in 1649, and then disappeared from the town records.

There is no further record of Young’s trial or the specifics of the charge, only that Alse Young was a woman. Early historical record hints at the possibility that there may have been some sort of epidemic in the town of Windsor in early 1647.

She had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who would be accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, some 30 years later.

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1828 – Celebrated feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.

At first it was assumed that he was raised half-wild in forests, but during conversations with officials, Hauser told a different version of his past life, which he later also wrote down in more detail. According to this story, for as long as he could remember he spent his life totally alone in a darkened cell about two metres long, one metre wide and one and a half high with only a straw bed to sleep on and a horse carved out of wood for a toy.

He claimed that he found bread and water next to his bed each morning. Periodically the water would taste bitter and drinking it would cause him to sleep more heavily than usual. On such occasions, when he awakened, his straw was changed and his hair and nails were cut.

Hauser claimed that the first human being with whom he ever had contact was a mysterious man who visited him not long before his release, always taking great care not to reveal his face to him.

This man, Hauser said, taught him to write his name by leading his hand. After learning to stand and walk, he was brought to Nuremberg. Furthermore, the stranger allegedly taught him to say the phrase “I want to be a cavalryman, as my father was” (in Bavarian dialect), but Hauser claimed that he did not understand what these words meant.

This tale aroused great curiosity and made Hauser an object of international attention. Rumours arose that he was of princely parentage, possibly of Baden origin, but there were also claims that he was an impostor.

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1897 – Dracula,  by  Bram Stoker, was published.

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1916 – Moondog born. Blind American composer, musician, poet and inventor of several musical instruments.
 
Moving to New York as a young man, Moondog made a deliberate decision to make his home on the streets there, where he spent approximately twenty of the thirty years he lived in the city.

Most days he could be found in his chosen part of town wearing clothes he had created based on his own interpretation of the Norse god Odin.[citation needed] Thanks to his unconventional outfits and lifestyle, he was known for much of his life as “The Viking of 6th Avenue”.

Native American music, along with contemporary jazz and classical, mixed with the ambient sounds from his environment (city traffic, ocean waves, babies crying, etc.)  created the foundation of Moondog’s music.

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1926 – Miles Davis born. American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.

 Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century,  Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.

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Almanac – November 29

St. Radbod’s Day – he was the great-grandson of another Radbod,  the last pagan king of the Frisians, who said he prefered the prospect of being in Hell with his ancestors than that of being in Heaven without them.

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Vampire Night in Romania, the undead are said to rise from their tombs and seek out their former homes. If they fail to find unprotected victims to leech off, they’ll instead fight among themselves, before returning to their graves.

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1781 –  The Zong Massacre took place,  a mass-killing by throwing overboard,  of approximately 142 slaves on the Zong, a slave ship owned by a Liverpool slave-trading syndicate.

The resulting court cases, brought by the ship-owners seeking compensation from the insurers for the slave-traders’ lost “cargo”, established that the deliberate killing of slaves could in some circumstances be legal. It was a landmark in the battle against the African slave trade of the eighteenth century, and inspired abolitionists such as Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson, leading to the foundation of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787.

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1933 – John Mayall born.  English blues singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, whose musical career spans over fifty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has included at different times  Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mick Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser, and  Walter Trout.

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2009 – Robert Holdstock died. English novelist and author best known for his works of Celtic, Nordic, Gothic and Pictish fantasy literature, predominantly in the fantasy subgenre of mythic fiction. His breakthrough novel Mythago Wood was published in 1984 and began the Ryhope Wood series, which continued until the appearance of Avilion in 2009.

Between 2001 and  2007  Holdstock produced a trilogy of fantasy novels, the Merlin Codex, consisting of Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings.
He died in hospital at the age of 61, following his collapse with an E. coli infection.

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