Tag Archives: witchcraft

Almanac – March 01

1692 – In Massachusetts, a female slave named Tituba who had been accused of practising witchcraft confessed, leading to further accusations and the outbreak of mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials.

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1893 – Nikola Tesla gave the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri. The principles of his wireless work  contained all the elements that were later incorporated into radio systems before the development of the vacuum tube.

He initially experimented with magnetic receivers, unlike the coherers (detecting devices consisting of tubes filled with iron filings which had been invented by Temistocle Calzecchi-Onesti at Fermo in Italy in 1884) used by Guglielmo Marconi and other early experimenters.

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1927 – Harry Belafonte born. American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist,  dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the style with an international audience in the 1950s.

Throughout his career he has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes (which got him blacklisted during the McCarthy era)  and was a vocal critic of the policies of the George W. Bush administration.

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1948 – Burning Spear (Winston Rodney) born. Jamaican roots reggae singer and musician.

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1952 – First release on the Sun Records label – Driving Slow by Johnny London

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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 – August 10

991 – Battle of Maldon: an English force, led by Byrhtnoth, Ealdorman of Essex, were defeated by a band of inland-raiding Vikings near Maldon in Essex. One manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle said a Norwegian, Olaf Tryggvason, led the Viking forces, estimated to have been between 2,000 and 4,000 fighting men. A source from the 12th century, Liber Eliensis, written by the monks at Ely, suggests that Byrhtnoth had only a few men to command: “he was neither shaken by the small number of his men, nor fearful of the multitude of the enemy”. Not all sources indicate such a disparity in numbers.

An account of the battle, embellished with many speeches attributed to the warriors and with other details, is related in an Old English poem which is usually named The Battle of Maldon.

1792 – French Revolutionaries imprisoned Louis XVI and the monarchy was suspended.

1842 – The Mines Act came into force in the UK, releasing all women and girls, as well as boys under the age of 10, from underground employment.

1909 – Leo Fender, inventor and musical instrument manufacturer, born.

1948 – Montague Summers died.  English author and clergyman. He is known primarily for his scholarly work on the English drama of the 17th century, as well as for his idiosyncratic studies on witches, vampires, and werewolves, in all of which he professed to believe. He was responsible for the first English translation, published in 1928, of the notorious 15th-century witch hunter’s manual, the Malleus Maleficarum.

1961 – First use in Vietnam War of the Agent Orange by the U.S. Army.
Agent Orange was the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.

2008 – Isaac Hayes died.  American songwriter, musician, singer, actor, and voice actor. Hayes was one of the creative influences behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. During the late 1960s, he also began recording music and  had several successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971). In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures, probably best  known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971).

Mr. Frankenstein

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