10 Accounts Of Evil Servants That Will Terrify You

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10 Accounts Of Evil Servants That Will Terrify You



The following cases detail grizzly crimes committed long ago at the hands of trusted household servants. The majority of the sentences handed down, though harsh, were precedent in setting the dismal and merciless tone that capital punishment embodied in America and Europe.

10Bridget Durgan

Bridget Durgan

In the late 19th century, popular ideology considered servants as society’s lower class, easily susceptible to a life of crime and murder. Such a critique was bestowed upon Bridget Durgan, an Irish servant described in tabloids throughout the US as “a wild beast and fiend.”

In 1867, Durgan stabbed her employer, Mrs. Coriel, to death. Newspapers speculated that Durgan was in love with and wanted to marry Mr. Coriel, even at times taunting the victim about the scandalous and unspeakable affair the duo were having. The ultimate punishment was handed down to the “hideous criminal,” as the media so indefatigably described her. Durgan was executed that same year by the state of New Jersey.


9Sisterly Love

Christine and Lea Papin

Photo via Murderpedia

In a quiet French village in 1933, sisters Christine and Lea Papin were ideal and trusted housekeepers to their overbearing and tyrannical employer, Madame Danzard. The girls, who shared a bed in their tiny attic room, lived lonely, uneventful lives, which inexplicably morphed into an intimate, incestuous relationship. When their newfound unsisterly feelings were discovered and threatened by the extremely proper Danzard, the sistersresorted to butchery.

After seven years of esteemed service, the girls stabbed Madame Danzard to death as well as her daughter, mutilating their bodies and gouging out their eyes. They immediately confessed to their grisly crime following their arrest, and the trial ultimately became a national headline sensation. In the end, Lea was sentenced to ten years of hard labor. Christine died four years later in a mental asylum.

8Mary Wallis

In July 1870, nine-month-old Albert H. Reed was dead, poisoned at the hands of 16-year-old Mary Wallis. Wallis was a black housemaid who inexplicably became involved in a bitter feud with the infant’s nurse. In a diabolical attempt to cast an indubitable and unforgiving castigation on her nemesis, Wallis mercilessly poisoned the infant, lacing the nine-month-old’s milk with strychnine. Her fatal plot was designed to cast blame of the child’s death onto the nurse whom she despised.

Inevitably, her scheme dreadfully deteriorated, and she was sentenced to death. Her punishment was met with harsh condemnation, given her age and mental state. However, the protests fell on deaf ears when it came to the presiding judge. Wallis’s sentence was upheld, and she was hanged in the Upper Marlboro, Maryland, jail yard in February 1871.


7The ‘Barnes Mystery’

Kate Webster

In 1879, wealthy Englishwoman Julia Martha Thomas was pushed down a flight of stairs by her maid, Kate Webster. In a drunken rage, Kate proceeded to strangle Thomas, killing her. She then dismembered the remains. After scorching the mutilated body of her former employer, Kate cast a majority of the remains down the River Thames while feeding the leftovers to neighborhood children, claiming the remains to be pig lard.

The whereabouts of Thomas’s head remained a mystery until 2010, when her skull was found during an excavation of an English garden. After officially confirming the cranium was that of Julia Martha Thomas, it was determined that she had died of head trauma and asphyxiation. As for Thomas’s murderous maid, Kate was hanged for her crime at Wandsworth Prison on July 29, 1879.

6Bloodstained Screwdriver

In March 1931, a group of attorneys were waiting anxiously for the arrival of Cornelius Kahlen, a wealthy real estate owner who had scheduled the meeting to discuss his property dealings. Much to everyone’s surprise, a man burst through the doors holding a bloodstained screwdriver in his trembling hand. “Cornelius Kahlen won’t be down,” said the man. “I have just killed him.”

The body of the 75-year-old real estate mogul was found in his ritzy New York City apartment, having been stabbed 20 to 30 times. The culprit at the center of it all was Kahlen’s trusted servant, Moramarco, who was accused of having an affair with Kahlen’s elderly wife at the time of the murder. According to Moramarco, he committed the murder after he came to believe that Kahlen was planning on moving to Germany, leaving his wife and Moramarco himself destitute.

5Grace Marks

Grace Marks and James McDermott

Photo credit: Toronto Public Library via Murderpedia

On July 23, 1843, 16-year-old maid Grace Marks and stable hand James McDermott shot and killed their wealthy employer, Thomas Kinnear. Earlier that day, they’d strangled their fellow housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. The sensationalism of the case attracted attention all over Canada, with newspapers reporting of a scandalous affair not only between the murderous servants but the victims as well. In fact, Nancy, also Kinnear’s mistress, was found to have been pregnant during her autopsy.

Following their capture, Grace Marks and James McDermott were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, with Marks’s sentence being commuted to life in prison. Prior to his hanging, McDermott expressed disdain at the unjust reprieve of Marks’s initial sentence, vehemently insisting that she was the instigator of the crime.


4A Rectory in Ireland

As night fell on the village of Balbriggan, Ireland, in May 1928, Father James McKeone anxiously awaited the return of Mary Callan, the rectory’s pretty 19-year-old housekeeper of three years. With Mary’s whereabouts still unknown the following morning and with no reason to believe she had left the vicinity of her own free will, Father McKeone alerted the town’s policeman, and a search party quickly ensued.

Weeks later, Mary’s dismembered body was found in a sewn-up sack that had been tossed in a quarry as if it were garbage. The culprit was 20-year-old Gerard Toal, a handyman and servant who worked beside Mary and lived at the rectory. Upon finding indisputable evidence in the fireplace of Toal’s room, he confessed to strangling Mary after being scolded by her for his blatant inattention to his duties. Toal’s confession afforded him no leniency, and he was subsequently sentenced to death.

3Archibald Hall

Archibald Hall

Photo via BBC News

Determined to refine everything about his character, con man and burglar Archibald Hall changed his name to Roy Fontaine, eradicated his Glaswegian accent, and studied antiquity and social etiquette. In 1977, Fontaine became a butler to Lady Margaret Hudson, only to have the prospects of his newfound life jeopardized soon after by the unexpected presence of David Wright. Wright, an ex-cellmate and former lover of Fontaine’s, was shot in the back of the head after threatening to expose Fontaine’s past.

Throughout the next year, Fontaine would go on a murderous rampage, killing various wealthy, elite employers as well as anyone who stood in his way. Upon his capture in 1978, Fontaine confessed to murdering his former lover, two employers, an accomplice, and another man and then led police to their buried remains. He was sentenced by British and Scottish courts to life imprisonment and died in 2002.

2Alice Riley

Alice Riley

Photo via the Savannah Morning News

On March 1, 1734, William Wise was found lying in his bed with his head submerged in a large pail of water. He had been strangled and drowned, becoming the first official murder in the colony of Savannah. The alibis and whereabouts of Alice Riley and Richard White, Wise’s Irish indentured servants, were unknown. The two had become lovers while under Wise’s “abusive and degenerate” rule, leading to their brash and heinous crime. Their brief romance ended upon their capture.

The pair would be sentenced to death. Alice, who was pregnant at the time of her sentencing, had her execution date postponed. Four weeks after she gave birth to a son, Alice was sent to the gallows, becoming the first woman to be executed in Georgia.

1Dinner At The Wrights’

In 1914, Julian Carlton, a black servant at the Wright household in Wisconsin, served dinner to unsuspecting guests, whom he would soon trap and murder. As the party dined, Carlton doused the dining room door in gasoline and lit a match, creating a chamber of flames. Those who tried to escape were struck down with a hatchet by Carlton.

Interestingly enough, the home of the grisliest scene in Wisconsin history belonged to one of the world’s most renowned architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, who was away on business at the time. The “Crime of the Century” came to an abrupt end with Carlton killing himself by drinking a bottle of acid prior to his arrest.

10 Facts About Ancient Egyptian Animals That Will Blow Your Mind

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10 Facts About Ancient Egyptian Animals That Will Blow Your Mind



Egypt was one of the first great civilizations on earth. They lived at the dawn of history, in a time that was very different from the world we live in today.

One of those differences was their gods. The Egyptian gods had the heads of animals. That might seem like a tiny detail, but it changed the way the lived in more ways than you might imagine. In homage to their gods, the Egyptians treated animals with a reverence that we don’t share—and that led to some truly bizarre moments that history usually leaves out.

10They Gave A Bull A Harem


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Throughout most of Egyptian history, there was always one lucky bull who got treated like a god. They called this bull “Apis,” a divine animal made flesh on Earth. They would choose one with what they believed were holy markings, bring it to the temple, and give it a treatment that human beings could only dream of.

The bull’s life was amazing. He received a harem of cow concubines to choose from and lived on a diet of cakes and honey. The Egyptians would throw parties on the bull’s birthday, and they would let him choose their oracles. They even performed sacrifices for the bull. They would bring oxen and cows in front of him and butcher them in tribute—which must have come across as a bit of a mixed message.

Human women were forbidden to touch the holy bull—except for during a fourth-month period when it would be brought to the city Nicopolis. There, the women would bare their bodies in front of the animal. Just because it was a bull, the Egyptians figured, didn’t mean it couldn’t appreciate a woman’s breasts.

When the bull died, it received a king’s burial. Then a new bull was chosen, and the whole routine started over again.


9Egyptians Kept Tamed Hyenas As Pets


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Before we settled on dogs and cats, humanity experimented with domesticating some strange animals. 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians tried to domesticate the last one you’d expect: They kept hyenas as pets.

Based on the images left behind in the tombs of pharaohs, hyenas were used like hunting dogs in 2800 BC. Great Egyptian rulers would chase after animals with a mixed pack of hunting dogs and hyenas.

They were not, however, particularly sentimental about these pets. While the hyenas enjoyed domestic life, their owners were fattening them up for supper. Once a hyena got big enough, it was killed, stuffed full of food and spices, and fried up for a feast.

Hyenas don’t seem to have caught on as a pet. After a few generations, the Egyptians gave up on keeping savage, cackling animals around the home. For what was probably a very good reason, it was cats and dogs that stuck around.

8The First Pharaoh Of A United Egypt Died By A Hippo


Photo credit: Wikimedia

King Menes was the first Pharaoh to rule over both Upper and Lower Egypt. He lived around 3000 BC, and he was one of the great legendary figures of Egyptian history. He united the nations, ruled over them for 60 years, and then was dragged off and killed by a hippopotamus.

There aren’t really any other details to this story. The whole thing from the Egyptian historian Manetho, who simply wrote, “Menes was the first king. He was snatched and killed by a hippopotamus.” and left it at that as though he couldn’t imagine anyone having any follow-up questions about how, exactly, that went down.

Since this happened 5,000 years ago, it’s perfectly possible that it’s just a myth—but that’s even stranger. Menes was an Egyptian hero. If the story’s made-up, then that means that the Egyptians viewed being dragged off and killed by a hippo as an end fit for the greatest of kings.


7Mongooses Were Considered Sacred


Photo credit: Wikimedia

To the Egyptians, those furry little critters we call mongooses were among the most sacred of all animals. They had seen mongooses kill cobras, and they were impressed. They made bronze statues in honor of mongooses and wore mongoose amulets for protection.

People kept mongooses as pets, too. Some Egyptians have been found buried with the mummified remains of their pet mongoose. They even worked them into their mythology. The god Ra, according to one of their stories, would transform into a mongoose to fight evil.

The craziest story, though, was one they insisted really happened. The Egyptians claim that one legendary mongoose was spotted climbing into a sleeping crocodile’s open mouth. The little furry critter climbed into the reptile’s belly and then ate its way out.

6Killing A Cat Was Punishable By Death


Photo credit: Wikimedia

In Egypt, the penalty for killing a cat was death. This wasn’t just a law against cruelty to animals or sadistic cat-killings—all you had to do was accidentally run over a cat with your chariot and you’d be put to death.

There were no exceptions. One writer, Diodorus Siculus, recorded that the king of Egypt personally intervened to try to save a Roman man who accidentally killed a cat. His people, though, showed no mercy, even if it meant risking war with Rome. They formed a mob, lynched him, and left his dead body in the streets.

Their love of cats would create a catastrophe when, in 525 BC, they were invaded by Persia. The Persians painted the image of an Egyptian cat goddess on their shields and marched behind a line of dogs, sheep, cats and, in their words, “whatever other animals the Egyptians hold dear.”

The Egyptians were so afraid of accidentally hurting the cats that they surrendered to keep the cats safe. It didn’t do the animals much good. After winning the war, the king of Persia reportedly went around Egypt throwing cats in people’s faces.

5When A Cat Died, Families Went Into Mourning


Photo credit: Wikimedia

The death of cat was a tragedy. Losing your pet cat was treated more or less like losing your wife. The whole family would go into mourning, which, in Egypt, meant they had to shave their eyebrows off.

The dead cat’s body would be wrapped in fine linens and taken to be embalmed. There, its little body would be treated with cedar oil and spices to give a sweet smell. Then it would be mummified and buried in a catacomb along with a supply of milk, mice, and rats for the afterlife.

These cat tombs were massive. In one, 80,000 dead cats were found, every one carefully embalmed and cared for before being buried in its tomb.


4They Hunted With Trained Cheetahs


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Big cats, like lions, could be hunted—but the Egyptian definition of “big” was a bit different from ours. By Egyptian standards, a cheetah was considered a “smaller cat”—something harmless enough to keep around the home.

While the average Egyptian home probably wouldn’t have a pet cheetah, some of the pharaohs did. Ramses II, in particular, filled his palace with tamed lions and cheetahs. And he wasn’t the only one to keep cheetahs around. Ancient tomb paintings show Egyptian kings going out hunting with a tamed cheetah at their side.

3They Had A City For Sacred Crocodiles


Photo credit: Hedwig Storch

The Egyptian city Crocodilopolis was the religious center of an entire cult dedicated to a crocodile god named Sobek. Here, they kept a sacred crocodile, which they named Suchus. People from all over would come to make pilgrimages to see it.

The crocodile was covered in gold and jewelry, and he had a group of priests attending to him at all times. People would bring gifts of food for the crocodile, and these priests would pry open its mouth and force the crocodile to eat it. They’d even get it drunk. One priest would have to hold open the crocodile’s mouth while the other poured in wine.

When the crocodile died, it received a hero’s funeral. Its body would be wrapped up in fine linen bandages, and it was mummified, buried in the catacombs below. Then they’d pick a new crocodile to wear jewels and drink wine.

2They Thought Scarabs Were Magically Born In Dung


Photo credit: Wikimedia

You’ve probably seen pictures of Egyptians wearing those little scarab amulets. Those things were real, and they were just as widespread as they are in the movies. Everyone, from the rich to the poor, wore them. The Egyptians believed that scarabs had magic power. Movies, though, usually leave why they thought they were magic.

Scarab beetles like to roll balls of dung on the ground and bury them in burrows. The females then lay their eggs in the dung, and their young come out of it. Egyptians saw most of that process happen, but they missed the egg-laying part. They figured that scarabs didn’t have mothers at all. Scarabs, they believed, just magically emerged out of poop.

They even believed that the Sun was just a big version of those balls being pushed by a gigantic scarab god. Don’t read too deep into that, though. That doesn’t mean they thought the Sun was a big ball of scarab dung. They couldn’t have—they didn’t even realize that they were balls of dung.

It’s much grosser than that. They thought the beetles were rolling balls of their own sperm.

1Two Pharaohs Went To War Over A Pet Hippo


One of Egypt’s greatest wars was over the pharaoh’s pet hippos. Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II kept a pool full of pet hippopotamuses, where he’d let his massive pets splash and play. This man loved his hippos. He was willing to die for them—in fact, he literally did just that.

At this time, Egypt was divided. The most powerful Egyptian kingdom was called Hyksos, which was ruled by Pharaoh Apopi. Being a lesser king, Seqenenre was required to pay tributes to Apopi. He could handle the humiliation of living under the tyranny of another man—until Apopi told him to get rid of his hippos.

Apopi sent a message to Seqenenre saying that his hippos were so loud he couldn’t sleep. Apopi lived 750 kilometers away, so this was just him being a jerk. Seqenenre, though, would not tolerate insults to his hippos. This, he declared, was grounds for war.

Seqenenre led his military into war against Apopi. He even died in combat,fighting for his right to a hippo pool. The war didn’t end there, though. His son kept it going. Two generations of kings fought for that hippo pool—and, in time, they won. By the end of the war, Egypt had unified once more, all because of one man’s love for his hippos.

10 Details That Make History’s Worst Tragedies Even Worse

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10 Details That Make History’s Worst Tragedies Even Worse



We like to imagine that we learn from our tragedies—that when the worst moment comes, people change their ways and start working together to make things right.

But sometimes, even after the catastrophe is over, the tragedy continues. People get swept up in the havoc and chaos of the moment and do things that make history’s worst moments even worse. And in the aftermath, some of our darkest moments are left with details too bleak to make it into the history books.

10Tiananmen Massacre
China Billed The Victims For The Bullets


Photo credit: The Atlantic

In 1989, after the death of the controversial figure Hu Yaobang, Chinese students marched out to Tiananmen Square and tried to force real change in China. They made a list of demands and led a hunger strike, hoping to bring an end to corruption and forge the first steps toward democracy.

All that came to an end, though, when the army marched in. Soldiers and tanks advanced on Tiananmen Square, right in the heart of Beijing. At least 300 people were gunned down by their own government, with some estimates putting that number as high as 2,700.

Usually, the story ends there—but there’s an extra little detail that makes it that much worse. After the massacre, some sources reported that the government billed the victims’ families for the cost of the bullets. The families of the protesters were charged the equivalent of 27 cents for each bullet used to kill their children.

The Chinese government has never admitted to it. But we know for a fact that they charged other dissidents for the bullets that killed them. There’s a lot of reason to believe that the reports are true that the government did it here, too.


9My Lai Massacre
Nixon Pardoned The Man Responsible


Photo credit: Ronald L. Haeberle

The worst incident in the Vietnam War was the My Lai Massacre. In 1968, American soldiers slaughtered more than 350 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam. They gang-raped women, mutilated children—and met absolutely no consequences.

Of everyone involved, only one soldier was actually charged: William Calley. The courts found Calley guilty of killing 22 innocent people and sentenced him to life in prison.

He never actually served the time, though. Instead, they just put him on house arrest, and he didn’t do that for very long. Calley hung around at home for three years and then got a full presidential pardon from Richard Nixon.

That doesn’t mean that everyone got off easy. One person suffered: Hugh Thompson. He was the man who reported the massacre and testified against the people who did it.

Thompson risked his life trying to save as many Vietnamese people as he could from his own men. He was rewarded for his bravery and heroism with death threats. People left mutilated animals on his porch each morning, and he suffered PTSD for the rest of his life.

A Nearby Town Got So Hot That People’s Heads Exploded


Photo credit: britishmuseum.org

The destruction of Pompeii is one of the most infamous natural disasters in history. An entire city was leveled under a sea of volcanic ash that killed thousands.

Compared to the people in Herculaneum, though, Pompeii got off easy. After the volcano erupted in AD 79, a witness described the scene: “A fearful black cloud, bent by forked and quivering bursts of flames, . . . sank down to the earth and covered the sea.”

That black cloud hit Herculaneum and covered the whole city. It was incredibly hot—over 500 degrees Celsius (932 °F). It burned the tops of buildings off completely and then touched on the people below. At such incredible temperatures, their teeth cracked, their skin burned off, and their bones turned black. Then their heads literally exploded.


Fallout Led To More Cancer And Car Crashes


Photo credit: Medical Daily

On September 11, 2001, when the planes flew into the twin towers in New York City, 2,996 innocent lives were brought to an end. It was a horrible moment and the worst terrorist attack on US soil. Over the next few years, though, that death toll would become even higher.

People were so afraid of flying after 9/11 that airline use went down by 20 percent. As a result, a lot more people were going greater distances in cars instead—which is a lot more dangerous. In the 12 months following the attacks, an estimated 1,595 more Americans died in car accidents because they were afraid to fly on planes.

Worse, though, was the increase in cancer. The twin towers were built with 400 tons of asbestos, which spread through the city when the towers collapsed. That cloud of asbestos affected an estimated 410,000 people, and cancer in New York City has spiked because of it.

The responders suffered the worst. About 70 percent of the recovery personnel who helped on that day now suffer from lung problems. Approximately 1,400 responders died in the 10 years after the tragedy. Another 1,140 responders have developed cancer since that tragic day.

6The Irish Potato Famine
Queen Victoria Forbade People From Donating Too Much


Photo via Wikimedia

When the people of Ireland started to starve from the Irish Potato Famine, Abdul Medjid Khan, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, wanted to help. In 1847, he prepared ships full of food and offered to send Ireland £10,000 to help them through the crisis.

British diplomats, though, ordered him not to. British royal protocol, they explained, said that no one should contribute more than Queen Victoria herself. At their order, the sultan reduced his donation to only £1,000 instead.

The Irish were thrilled with his donation anyway. They called the donation an “act of regal munificence” and said, “For the first time, a Mohammedan sovereign, representing multitudinous Islam populations, manifests spontaneously a warm sympathy with a Christian nation.”

The sultan, though, may have revealed a little regret at the compromise when he wrote back, “I would have done all in my power to relieve their wants.”

5Black Death
The Plague Led To A Jewish Genocide


Photo credit: Emile Schweitzer

The Black Death wiped out between 75 and 200 million people in the mid-1300s. It killed an estimated one-third of the population of Europe. It was a terrible tragedy—and like most tragedies, Europe dealt with it by blaming the Jews.

Many Europeans believed that the plague was a Jewish conspiracy. According to the story, the Jews had gone around the country poisoning wells to make good Christian people suffer. At first, it was a conspiracy theory. Then the Inquisition rounded up Jewish people and tortured them until they agreed to say they’d done it. Then it was, in the eyes of the people, a full-blown fact.

Mobs rose up and dragged people out into the streets. Jewish babies were pulled from their parents. Whole communities of people were tied to stakes and burned alive. In one case, more than 2,000 people were incinerated at once.

The Black Death, of course, was not a Jewish conspiracy. It affected Jews and Gentiles alike. That didn’t save anyone, though. In the city of Strasbourg, it became law that no Jew should enter the city for 100 years.


4Hurricane Katrina
A Neighboring Town Turned Away Refugees At Gunpoint


Photo credit: nola.com

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, countless people lost their homes. In a desperate bid for survival, people fled to neighboring towns for safety. The police of New Orleans helped them, pointing the way to the bridge that led to the town of Gretna.

But instead of a welcoming party, these people found a barricade on the bridge. Four police cruisers blocked the lanes, and eight officers were waiting for the refugees with shotguns. They yelled, “We don’t want another Superdome!” and chased the people off. According to some reports, the officers even stole the refugees’ food and water before chasing them away.

Arthur Lawson, the Gretna chief of police, didn’t even deny it. He confirmed that he sealed off the bridge, saying, “There was no place for them to come on our side.”

3Wounded Knee
20 Soldiers Were Given Medals Of Honor


Photo credit: Frederic Remington

In 1890, US troops attacked an innocent Lakota camp. Most of the people were unarmed, but the troops ran as many down as possible, slaughtering approximately 200 innocent men, women, and children. It was an outrage, and the men who did it were murderers. And for doing it, 20 of them were given Medals of Honor.

More people were given awards for the Wounded Knee Massacre than for most real battles. The government actually wanted to give out 25, but a man named General Miles fought it, calling it “an insult to the memory of the dead.” Even with his protests, they still handed out 20.

One man, Sergeant Toy, was cited “for bravery displayed while shooting hostile Indians.” In the full report, though, it was made clear that he shot Native Americans who were running away. Another man, Lieutenant Garlington, was awarded for blocking off the escape of fleeing victims. He forced them to hide a ravine, and Lieutenant Gresham was awarded for going into that ravine to kill the victims.

At least one Medal of Honor recipient seems to have felt the guilt of what he did. Two years later, Sergeant Loyd killed himself just a few days before the anniversary of the massacre. For his part at Wounded Knee, he had been given the Medal of Honor for “bravery.”

2The Great Fire Of London
The Town Hanged A Mentally Handicapped Man


Photo credit: greatfireoflondon.net

Robert Hubert was described as “not well in the mind” by everyone who knew him. He was very likely mentally handicapped or at least mentally ill. He could barely speak a word of English, and his limbs were constricted by palsy. But despite all that, he was hanged for firebombing London in 1666.

Hubert wasn’t actually in London when the fire happened. He showed up two days later and walked around repeating the word “Yes!” In 1666, that was enough evidence to a form a lynch mob, drag him off the streets, and pull him into the police station.

There, he was interrogated until he said “Yes!” that he’d been paid a shilling by a Frenchman to burn down London. He changed his story every time he told it, but they hanged him anyway.

Fifteen years later, the captain of the ship that took Hubert to London finally stepped forward and told everyone that Hubert wasn’t even in London during the Great Fire. By then, though, it was far too late.

1The Titanic
They Billed The Families Of The Victims


Photo credit: updatehunt.com

The White Star Line was nothing if not frugal. Due to a clause worked into their contracts, every employee aboard the ship was fired the second that the Titanic began to sink. The company would not, after all, pay wages for employees who were wasting their time drowning.

Afterward, the families of the dead were informed that they would have to pay the freight cost if they wanted their loved ones’ bodies. Most couldn’t afford it, of course, and so today, many of those who died have memorials instead of graves.

Things were far worse for the musicians. The band who heroically played on while the ship sank were completely abandoned. They were registered as independent contractors, which meant that White Star Line legally didn’t have to do anything for them. The other crew members’ families got survivor benefits, but the families of the band didn’t get a penny.

That doesn’t mean they got nothing, though. The families of the band were sent one memento: a bill for the cost of the uniforms.

10 Alternative Theories That Could Change Your View Of History

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10 Alternative Theories That Could Change Your View Of History




Some call them conspiracy theories. Loony or not, many hypotheses about history contain more than just a glimmer of truth. From secret societies to unrecorded interactions, the possibilities of alternative history are many. These 10 are just some of the more fascinating examples.

10The Knights Templar And The Mandaeans


Photo credit: Wikimedia

The Mandaeans are an enthno-religious people native to southern Iraq and southwestwern Iran. Their religion, Mandaeanism, closely resembles the Gnostic faith of Manichaeism. According to some scholars, the Mandaeans first appeared either before or during the arrival of Christianity.

During the time of the Crusades, the Mandaeans were known as skilled goldsmiths. This trade may have brought them into close contact with the Knights Templar, the legendary warrior-monks who frequently relied on local trade to survive. The Mandaeans worship John the Baptist as the world’s true savior. In the Gospels, St. John the Baptist is decapitated and is presented to the vicious Salome, the step-daughter of Herod Antipas. Interestingly, after they were rounded up by the French King Philip IV, the Templars were accused of worshiping a severed and embalmed head.

Could this be a relic of St. John the Baptist? Did the Templars adopt some Gnostic traditions after their long residence in the Middle East?


9The Ismailis And The ‘Islamic Golden Age’


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Unlike the largest sect of Islam, Sunni Islam, the Ismailis belong to the Shia branch. However, unlike orthodox Shias, Ismailis are not “Twelvers,” so they do not subscribe to the belief in the Twelve Imams as the true spiritual successors of Muhammad. Furthermore, the Ismaili community openly accepts certain non-Muslim traditions, including Christian ethics and Greek philosophy. Because of this, the Ismailis are frequently persecuted in many fundamentalist countries.

During the Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171), Ismaili caliphs ruled the empire while Ismaili da’is (scholars) produced a wealth of Ismaili texts that incorporated Western and Eastern esotericism, Gnosticism, and classical learning. Because of this, it has been suggested that open-minded Ismailismbrought about Islam’s Golden Age and facilitated the Arabic and Persian translations of Jewish, Greek, and Roman texts. Unfortunately, thanks to the Abbasid Caliphate and the entrenched power of Sunni Islam, the Ismailis were suppressed and forced to go underground for many centuries.

8The Bear Cult Hypothesis


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Historians have theorized that the ancient Indo-Europeans had two primary cults that all tribes shared. These two cults recognized wolves and bears as sacred animals. Whereas the wolf symbolized masculinity, virility, and the power of the tribe, the bear represented motherhood and fertility. By the time of Sanskrit “Rigveda,” the power of the bear cult had noticeably declined.

However, in looking through other ancient texts, echoes of the bear cult remain. The Anglo-Saxon Beowulf is similar to the Icelandic saga of Bodvar Bjarki, whose name translates to “Battle Bear.” The Nordic “berserker” warriors also highlight this ancient European appreciation of the bear.


7The Original Koreans Of Japan


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Currently, almost a million “Zainichi Koreans” live in Japan. Many are the descendants of workers who moved to Japan following World War II, while others came earlier after the Japanese conquest of Korea in 1910. Most speak Japanese as their first language. According to a genetic survey produced by the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan, modern Japanese people may in fact be the descendants of Koreans themselves.

Specifically, researchers believe that the Japanese language and culture developed after the native settlers of the archipelago (the Jomon people) intermarried with the Yayoi people who crossed the strait from what is today Korea. Obviously, given the sometimes contentious relations between Japan and South Korea, this theory is not accepted by everyone in Japan.

6The Baltic Origins Of The Ancient Greeks


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The notion that the ancient Greeks may have had some deep connections to the Baltic is mostly supported by certain readings of The Iliad and The Odyssey. According to believers, Homer’s epic poems recount faded memories of Greece’s Baltic ancestors coming down through the Danube and other rivers to settle in Greece. Furthermore, these scholars claim the geography of The Odyssey only makes sense in the Baltic or North Sea, not the Mediterranean.

Because this theory reminds many of “Nordicism,” or the theory that the ancient Greeks were racially “Nordic,” it is not generally popular or widely accepted. The main proponent of this theory, Italian engineer and amateur historian Felice Vinci, has presented some evidence to back up this theory.

5The Masonic Conspiracies Of France


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The Freemasons have always been the targets of numerous conspiracy theorists throughout the ages. Because of their secrecy, their slightly disturbing rituals, and their popularity among the wealthy and powerful, the Freemasons are easy targets. In France during the 19th century, right-wing nationalists and Catholic conservatives latched onto certain Freemason conspiracies to explain France’s martial and political decline following the Franco-Prussian War. One of the more outlandish theories was put forth by Leo Taxil, a known hoaxer and a convert to Catholicism who wrote a book that claimed that Freemasons worship the devil.

Interestingly, all of this attention on the Freemasons revealed serious connections between Masonic rituals and Gnostic Christianity. Therefore, French and other writers have openly wondered whether the Freemasons are somehow connected to the same esoteric lineage as the Knights Templar or the Ismailis.


4The Lost Jews And Muslims Of The New World


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Beginning in the 1980s, word spread that many longtime residents of New Mexico believed they were descendants of Spanish Conversos. During the Spanish Inquisition, many Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism or face severe persecution. Many of these Conversos continued to practice their ancient Jewish faith in secret, however. Therefore, many believe that theseConversos continued to practice Judaism in the Spanish colony of New Mexico. DNA tests released in the early 2000s confirmed that many modern Latinos have Sephardic Jewish ancestry.

Jews were not the only religious group who may have landed in the New World. Spanish Muslims, known as “moriscos,” also likely intermarried with native tribes and Spanish Catholics, Thus, many Latinos may also have DNA that links them to Morocco and Algeria.

3Are Modern Lebanese The True Descendants Of Phoenicia?


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In 2016, a team representing the University of Otago and the Lebanese American University found for the first time ever a complete mitochondrial genome of a Phoenician individual. This 2,500-year-old man known as the “Young Man of Byrsa” was found in the hillsides of Carthage, Tunisia. According to the two primary scientists, the Phoenicians, who were native to what is now coastal Lebanon, contained the European U5b2cl haplogroup, so Phoenicians may have been both the descendants of European hunter-gatherers and the first people to introduce European DNA to North Africa.

This interesting find unleashed another question—how much Phoenician DNA is left among the Lebanese? According to certain researchers, today’s Christian and Muslim populations of Lebanon still have traces of Phoenician DNA. In the political realm, this finding has underscored the fairly common belief among Lebanese people that they are not Arabic and do not share a cultural affinity with the Arab world.

2William Shakespeare, Spy


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The idea that famous playwright William Shakespeare worked for Her Majesty is part of the wider theory that Shakespeare was not the true author of his plays. One theory, which claims that William Stanley, the sixth Earl of Derby, wrote the Bard’s plays, bases itself on the pen of a Jesuit spy named George Fenner. In a letter dated from 1599, Fenner claims bluntly that Stanley was the true author.

This connection to espionage is interesting, for many believe that Shakespeare was himself a spy. One camp believes he was a secret Catholic who spied on English Protestants, while others believe that he worked directly for London as a “gentleman agent.” Most of the evidence for these suppositions are based on some of Shakespeare’s letters, which read like intelligence reports about the wealthy gentry in the English countryside.

1Aleister Crowley, Spy And Occult Interrogator


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The “Wickedest Man in the World” is generally considered one of the Western world’s foremost occultists. “The Great Beast” was a great proponent of sex magick, which, to modern eyes, looks like perversion dressed up in mumbo-jumbo. Some historians have claimed that this was part of Crowley’s cover, for the chubby man from Warwickshire was a secret agent for the British Empire. Richard B. Spence’s “Secret Agent 666” points out that Crowley’s ability to always travel well without a clear source of income, plus his connections to the pro-German element in America during World War I, are clear indications that he was a spy.

One of the more popular beliefs is that during World War II, Crowley was tapped by Naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming (the author of James Bond) to interrogate Rudolf Hess in Scotland. Hess, Hitler’s deputy and a known occultist, was supposedly grilled by Crowley for hours and subjected to Crowley’s extremely spicy curry. Years later, Crowley would appear in the first James Bond novel as the villain Le Chiffre.