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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Did Ruth Tell the Truth?

From the obit of Ruth E. Rencevicz, via Obituary Forum:

Over the years, in addition to her regular jobs as a full-time mom and a switchboard operator at both Sears and BFG Federal Credit Union, Ruth also served her country as a covert spy for the Central Intelligence Agency, where during the Cold War she was largely responsible for the breakup of the Soviet Union near the end of the 20th century. At least, that's the way she told it.

Ruth was also very active as a volunteer with youth in her community in Tallmadge, Ohio, where she was known to selflessly give of her time by standing on her balcony yelling at kids for "playing that rap music" at all hours of the day and night. She also served as a mentor to young people by throwing rocks at teenagers dressed in loose baggy pants with their underwear exposed. She winged a couple of 'em pretty good, from what we understand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You're Never Safe From Hurricanes

Hurricane Katrina drove Bluesman Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown from Slidell, Louisiana, to his childhood hometown of Orange, Texas, where he died in 2005.

Now, another hurricane has disturbed his rest.

The 1982 Grammy Award winner's casket was one of dozens belched up by the ground when gulf and rain waters from Hurricane Ike flooded Hollywood Cemetery, an all-black burial ground on the west side of this city on the Sabine River. [Link]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Counted, But Unaccounted For

In July 1860, census taker Elias D. Bruner found 35 people living in Nobles County, Minnesota. By 1862, all of them had disappeared.

It is as if the families suddenly appeared in Nobles county in 1860, then disappeared just as suddenly. Is it possible that every single surname was spelled incorrectly? That seems unlikely, as only one adult in the settlement, Thomas Marks, was unable to read or write. Did the settlement exist, or was it a figment of Bruner�s imagination? That seems equally unlikely. How does one explain that the families and bachelors cannot be found through searches involving individual states, the entire country, and sites overseas? [Link]
Thorndale and Dollarhide's Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 suggests an answer:
Historian Robert J. Forrest says seven southwestern counties had no white population in 1857 but Democrats fabricated census schedules to cover their ballot fraud. These seven counties are shown on the map with question marks. (See "Mythical Cities of Southwestern Minnesota", Minnesota History 14 (1933), 243-62).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

Another treasure from the Futility Closet:

In the year 1796, died at Wordley Workhouse, Berks, Mary Pitts, aged 70; on being accused of having rummaged the box of another pauper, she wished God might strike her dead if she had; and instantly expired.
Kirby's Wonderful and Scientific Museum, 1803

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