Tag Archives: witch trials

Almanac – August 19

1692Salem witch trials: in Salem, Massachusetts, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

1745 – Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in Glenfinnan – the start of the Second Jacobite Rebellion, known as “the 45”.

1895 –  Outlaw John Wesley Hardin died.  When he was finally captured and sent to prison in 1878, Hardin claimed to have already killed 42 men, but newspapers of the era had attributed only 27 killings to him up to that point. While in prison, Hardin wrote his autobiography and studied law, attempting to make a living as an attorney after his release. He  was shot to death by John Selman, Sr. in the Acme Saloon, in El Paso, Texas.

One hundred years after his death, in August 1995, his graveside was the scene of a bizarre confrontation between two groups. One, representing the great-grandchildren of Hardin, sought to relocate the body to Nixon, TX, to be interred next to the grave of Hardin’s first wife. Opposing them was a group of El Pasoans intent on preventing the move.

At the cemetery, the group representing Hardin’s descendants presented a disinterment permit for the body of Hardin, while the El Pasoans countered with a court order prohibiting the removal of the body. Both sides accused the other parties of seeking the tourist revenue generated by the location of the body. A subsequent lawsuit ruled in favor of keeping the body in El Paso.


1959 – Blind Willie McTell died.  American Piedmont and ragtime blues singer and guitarist, also an adept slide guitarist. McTell’s influence extended over a wide variety of artists, including The Allman Brothers Band, who famously covered his “Statesboro Blues”, and Bob Dylan, who paid tribute to McTell in his 1983 song “Blind Willie McTell”; the refrain of which is, “And I know no one can sing the blues, like Blind Willie McTell”. Other artists include Taj Mahal, Ralph McTell, and The White Stripes.

1977 – Groucho Marx died.

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Almanac – July 30

762 – Baghdad  founded by caliph Al-Mansur.

1751 – Although official executions for Witchcraft was supposed to have ceased in England in 1682 [1722 in Scotland], a Mrs. Osborne on this day became the last known person to be killed as a result of a witch-trial, being given the water test [float and you’re guilty, sink and you’re innocent] until she drowned – so was thus presumably innocent.

1818 – Emily Brontë born. English novelist and poet, best remembered for her solitary novel, Wuthering Heights. Although it received mixed reviews when it first came out, and was often condemned for its portrayal of amoral passion, the book subsequently became an English literary classic. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell.


1958 – Kate Bush born , English singer-songwriter who’s first hit single  was – coincidence or not – Wuthering Heights.

2003 – Sam Phillips died. American businessman, record executive, record producer and DJ who played an important role in the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940s and 1950s and  founded Sun Studios and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Through Sun, Phillips discovered  Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis , Johnny Cash  and Elvis Presley.

2007 – Ingmar Bergman died. Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. described by Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera,”  Bergman is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential film directors of all time.

Mr. Frankenstein

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