Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

The Real George Washington

Recent research has exposed that the Father of the United States, General George Washington, oversaw a vast network of spies during the American Revolution, but he was also one of the weakest field generals in American history. Even more startling, he was a master of lies and deceit.

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(Photo Copyright: The National Geographic Channel)

We’d love to, but we can’t take credit for these finds. Our fellow historians at the National Geographic Channel beat us to the story. The Real George Washington will air on the National Geographic Channel on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 9pm.

Alexander the Great’s Undoing: A Flat Earth

Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military commanders in history, conquered the majority of civilization after his ascendancy to the throne of Macedon in 336 BC. His men, however, would not continue into the relatively unknown region of present-day India.

Historians have often speculated why Alexander’s men refused to continue. Was the Ganges River was too formidable an obstacle? Did the men simply want to go home after over a decade in the field? No. The real reason is far simpler: His men believed the earth was flat.

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Alexander’s men had no intention of ending up like this.

Legendary Greek scholar and scientist Aristotle was Alexander’s personal tutor as a young man, impressing him with an appreciation for new ideas and a mind for scientific inquiry. Through this teaching Alexander had been convinced that the earth was indeed round. The average Macedonian soldier, however, was usually steeped in the superstition prevalent in most ancient cultures and knew only of a flat earth.

The men had seen far too much success with Alexander to rebel openly, but their mood changed as they proceeded further east toward unknown lands. The tipping point for the men came with the discovery of a cache of crude placards on which were engraved the words, “The world is flat like an open-faced gyro.” With no other choice, Alexander conceded and quietly ordered his army south, instead of further east.

picture-21Boy prodigy, military genius, scientific martyr?

The idea of a round earth was frighteningly new, and therefore, doubtless offensive to the gods of the Persian court, which had allied with Alexander several years earlier. Details of the Persian conspiracy against Alexander remain thin, but the fact remains that Alexander died unexpectedly on June 11, 323 BC in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon, almost certainly by poison.

This Week’s Caption Contest

Now one of the most visited pages of the TheHistoryBluff.com, the caption contest is back with a picture of President Richard Nixon. The person who submits the winning caption will receive a The History Bluff bookmark.

Last week’s winner, R. Todd, will be receiving his this week. He is to be envied.

Caption Contest Winner Announced

Fridays should be relaxed, and we honor that. It’s not often that we show our humorous side here, but we will today with our caption contest. This week’s winner was R. Todd. Below is his winning caption.

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Dude, seriously, does this look cancerous?

The Arrest of Helen Keller

By 1953, Helen Keller had attained nationwide fame as a celebrated author and the first deafblind person to graduate from college. Her celebrity earned her a visit to the White House to speak with President Eisenhower, during which she was arrested.

At the outset of her meeting with the President, Helen began a technique of communication she had learned at an early age: She touched the President’s lips and throat in order to communicate with him. However, the Secret Service agents assigned to President Eisenhower had not been notified of Keller’s communication technique; the agents rushed Helen and threw her to the ground. Before the President could stop the arrest, an agent rattled off the Miranda Rights which stated that Keller had the right to remain silent.

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Because of federal laws, Keller was taken to a holding cell after her arrest despite the pleas of Eisenhower and Keller’s companions. She spent the night and was allowed to leave the following afternoon after the charges of assault and battery were dropped.

In a letter to the White House staff, Keller forgave them for failing to alert the proper personnel of who she was and how she communicated. In the letter she displayed her wry sense of humor by saying, “…I will also forgive the agents who, for the lack of a better term, blind-sided me.”

President Harrison and the End of America

At the end of the tightly-contested 1888 election, Benjamin Harrison was elected President of the United States. Supporters of incumbent President Grover Cleveland were distraught at the selection of Harrison, proclaiming that the nation would soon cease to exist.

Americans at the time thought Harrison’s position on certain issues was far too liberal for a country founded upon conservative values. He meant to admit North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming into the union. He had also proclaimed that he would compromise with the British concerning America’s fishing rights in the Bering Sea.

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Born to European parents, Harrison was said to have been a spy intent on wrecking America.

Americans believed the newly-admitted states would weaken America as none of the states would be able to contribute – except for the occasional sackful of potatoes from Idaho. Another belief was that compromising such a valuable resource as the fish in the Bering Sea would tragically cripple the young nation.

Upon Harrison’s election, men packed up their families and either moved to Mexico or jumped from the highest buildings in their town squares. Death rates spiked, people went missing, and locusts plagued the southeast as pandemonium took hold and showed no signs of letting up. Churches saw record-high attendance in the weeks following both the election and inauguration; many proclaimed that the end of the world was upon them.

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Riots, murders, and arson swept through America.

Over the next few years people who were of the voting age during 1888 began to die out, leaving their uninformed children behind. Just as America was breathing its last, the election of 1892 took place restoring hope in America and returning a greenish hue to the grass and plants of the American landscape.

The 1960 Election Day Kidnappings

The United States saw a record-high voter turnout of 63% in 1960 despite a record-high in kidnappings at polling places. The number of missing is estimated at 92 victims across 11 states.

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A cautious voter leaves her voting booth after hearing of the kidnappings.

Authorities believe that the kidnappers were working together across multiple states, and all appear to have been volunteer workers who were helping out at the polls. An anonymous source believes that the volunteer workers slipped into the voting booths to wait for dutiful voters. Many voting booths in 1960 were made of a thick, heavy fabric that extended almost completely to the floor, enabling devious volunteers to quietly wait unseen before they attacked.

As reports of missing persons began to pop up across the nation, authorities investigated the polls and found hidden doors in the back of several of the booths. These doors led to the outside of the building the booths were in. Very little evidence was ever found at the scene of the kidnappings. None of the victims were ever heard from.

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A suspicious-looking volunteer plotting over a precinct map.

At day’s end, John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States. He never learned of the kidnappings – neither did the unaffected American public.

Protect Yourself at the Polls.

– Only show volunteers the required information to avoid identity theft.

– Do not leave your children with a volunteer, no matter how cute and aged the volunteers may be.

– Do not let volunteers escort you to a certain voting booth.

– Peek under each voting booth curtain to ensure that no volunteer is in the booth.

– Do not allow them to place the “I Voted” sticker on your person. Accept the sticker by hand.