10 Lethal American Highwaymen History Forgot About

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10 Lethal American Highwaymen History Forgot About



Highwaymen were the pirates of the land, robbing travelers along public roads leaving a path of terror in their wake. The following ten tales focus specifically on American highwaymen whose monstrous and murderous deeds throughout history have, until now, seamlessly faded from present day literature.


10The Doan Brothers


Between 1781 and 1788, the Doan brothers terrorized eastern Pennsylvania with a string of robberies, shootouts, and jailbreaks in what many historians claim was the result of retribution. Prior to their criminal ways, the brothers were Quakers until the Patriots confiscated their father’s land during the American Revolutionary War. In retaliation, the siblings began a life of debauchery and crime, ultimately forming a gang consisting of at least thirty men.

One of the gang’s biggest heists was the Newtown Treasury in which they made off with £1,307. None of the money was ever recovered. Unfortunately for the Doan brothers, their years of luck would soon run out. The oldest sibling, Moses, was shot and killed by authorities, while Levi Doan and Cousin Abraham were hanged in Philadelphia. The three remaining brothers managed to escape; Mahon is theorized to have sailed to England following his break-out from a Baltimore jail while Aaron and Joseph headed north to Canada.

9Ben Kuhl


The last horse drawn stage robbery in the United States was on December 5, 1916, outside Jarbidge, Nevada. Fred Searcy, the driver of the first-class mail stage, was found shot in the back of the head with the culprits fleeing with $4,000 in gold coins.

Police later discovered, in the vicinity of the crime, a discarded black overcoat and a bloody envelope. The coat was recognized by townspeople to have belonged to Ben Kuhl, a troubled drifter with a lengthy rap sheet. Kuhl was tracked down and arrested along with three of his friends, one of whom would testify against him. In addition to countless testimony from several witnesses, the most damaging piece of evidence was the envelope containing the bloody palm print. For the first time in American history, palm prints were entered into court evidence, and this led to the Kuhl’s conviction and sentence of death.

After his death sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment, Kuhl was released at the age of 61 in April 1943. He would die of tuberculosis only one year later.


8Joseph Thompson Hare


In 1790, Joseph Hare traveled from Pennsylvania to New Orleans upon where he befriended three men who shared the same conniving and murderous ways as he. On the men’s voyage back north, the four robbed and murdered countless peddlers and farmers while disguising themselves in a horrific fashion; smearing their faces with dark berries, allowing for a bloody and grotesque appearance guaranteed to cast fear. Throughout their coarse journey, they would encounter and trade with Indians, as well as obtain counterfeit passports for which they would be jailed by the Spaniards as American spies.
Following their early release, Hare began experiencing ghostly hallucinationson the wooded trails of the country, at one point witnessing a “magnificent white horse.” The apparition stopped Hare in his tracks long enough—following a recent crime in which he was in pursuit by a vigilante posse—that he was captured and spent the next five years in prison. Following his release, Hare declared himself a changed man. Despite his newfound sense of self, he was arrested the following year for the robbery of a Baltimore night mail coach. For this crime, Hare was hanged in front of a crowd of 1,500 people on September 10, 1818.

7Michael Martin


In Ireland 1816, 20-year-old Michael Martin was offered a “partnership” by a man he met at a tavern who went by the name, Captain Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt saw potential in Martin who was an exceptionally fast runner, thus, dubbed him “Captain Lightfoot”. Armed with brass pistols, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot began robbing wealthy highway travelers, never once stealing from women or the poor. Their chivalrous thievery brought the two all over Ireland, Scotland, and England until the day Martin made the journey to the United States, never again seeing his mentor Captain Thunderbolt. In America, Martin began his old ways by robbing unsuspecting people as he traveled throughout the East Coast.

Martin’s last highway victims were a Boston dignitary Major Bray and his wife. Following the robbery of $12, Martin made off into the night but was soon captured by authorities. While in prison, Martin viciously attacked a jailor which allowed him to escape and flee to the countryside. He was eventually recaptured in Springfield, and in 1821 he became the first and last person to be hanged in Massachusetts for highway robbery.

6James Ford


For a man who served respectable offices—Tennessee delegate, county Sheriff, justice of the peace, Captain of the Livingston County Cavalry, and overseer of the poor—James Ford was the epitome of service to his respected communities, yet what lay underneath the facade was a dark andsinister man.

Of the many talents Ford possessed, he was a well-skilled ferry operator who worked the streams of the infamous Cave-in-Rock waters. Ford, who has been described as “Satan’s Ferryman,” was nothing more than a skilled counterfeiter turned murderous river pirate known for creating the “Ford’s Ferry Gang”; a cast of degenerates who preyed on travelers passing through the vicinity.

Ford’s gang of hoodlums would ravage and murder the region for the better part of the 1820s until their reign of terror came to a sudden and unforeseen halt. In 1833, a mob of unknown vigilantes took the law into their own hands and assassinated the gang leader bringing to an end a decade of violence and death.


5The Potts Inn


Even after the death of James Ford, lawlessness continued along the Ford’s Ferry High Water Road, only now the unsuspecting victims would first be made to feel right at home. Potts Springs was the location of Potts Inn, aquaint residence where travelers seeking food and lodging could lay their heads for the night.

The Inn was owned and operated by none other than husband and wife, Isaiah and Polly Potts who primarily catered to ferry goers. Whether renting a room for the night or merely stopping by the Inn’s tavern while passing through, the Potts would murder their guests and bury their remains in a shallow grave. In fact, one did not even have to be a guest of the murderous couple to fall prey, given that many travelers were killed along the route leading to the Inn. It is said that the Potts’ long lost son, Billy, was lured to the tavern and murdered, all the while both parties never recognizing one another.

4David Lewis


Soon after enlisting in the Army at the age of 17, David Lewis became a deserter. Escaping the death sentence bestowed by the Military Court, Lewis broke from the shackles of the ball and chain. He would soon make his way to Vermont where he embarked on a new trade, counterfeiting.

Following his second imprisonment, Lewis escaped with the help of his future bride, Melinda. After relocating his operations out of the Doubling Gap Hotel, Lewis focused his sights on the city’s elite, robbing those he assumed would bring in the highest amount. After a profitable succession of robbing the wagons of wealthy travelers, the “Robin Hood of Pennsylvania” was in due course wounded and captured. In the end, gangrene infested his woundsand he died in jail in 1820.

3Henry Plummer


In 1856, Henry Plummer was elected sheriff of Nevada City, California and served two terms before he was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his mistress’ husband. Having served only six months in San Quentin before being pardoned by the governor, Plummer returned to Nevada City, this time he was elected to Assistant Marshal. Avoiding prosecution for killing a man in a whorehouse brawl, Plummer fled in 1861, ultimately settling in Idaho where he took up with a gang of highwaymen.

Due to his influence, the gang became known as “The Innocence” who robbed and murdered travailing miners. In 1863, “The Innocence” followed Plummer to Bannack, Montana, where he was elected sheriff. While in office, Plummer ran an effective and deadly criminal ring, providing his henchmen with the routes of gold shipments, as well as their protection, all the while the gang ran rampant in Bannack without the fear of ramification. After the robbery and murder of more than 100 locals, a team of nearly 2,000 settlers turned vigilantes captured and hanged a weeping Plummer and two of his men on the same gallows the crooked sheriff had prepared for another.

2Samuel Mason


The infamous shelter for roaming highwaymen, Cave-in-Rock, became a temporary respite for Samuel Mason in 1797. The Ohio River, situated on the Illinois-Kentucky border, was the site of Mason’s criminal headquarters. He murdered all who trespassed through his waters. Mason’s river piracies involved setting up a sign near the cave that read “Liquor Vault and House of Entertainment,” leading many unsuspecting victims into a deathtrap.

Once aground, any and all were murdered by Mason’s heinous band of criminals, in addition to the countless who were attracted to shore due to the beautiful “stranded” women hired by Mason. The bodies of the dead were gutted and filled and with rocks so they would sink to the bottom of the river, while all valuables were sold in New Orleans.

After Mason and his accomplices were detained by Spanish authorities in 1803, they escaped en route to Tennessee after murdering the commander overseeing their transport to American territory. Because of this, the bounty on Mason’s head substantially increased, leading one of his gang affiliates to take note. In July 1803, Mason’s head was cut off by his trusted criminal associate, Little Harpe, who brought it back to Mississippi to claim the reward.

1The Harpe Brothers


The Harpe Brothers are often referred to as America’s first true serial killers. Regardless of the assessments factuality, Micajah (“Big Harpe”) and Wiley (“Little Harpe”) left an endless trail of mutilated corpses throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, casting fear in the hearts of frontier families. They murdered not for financial gain, but for the love of the sport. Their lust for death proved even too much for fellow outlaws to bear, casting the brothers out of the Cave-in-Rock territory. Nevertheless, they continued their murderous spree of torture and disembowelment, with no discrimination pertaining to age, gender, or race. No one was spared. Their victim count is estimated to be between 25 to 50, although the actual number has never been known.

Big Harpe met his end from the blade of a tomahawk in July 1799. Subsequently, he was decapitated, and his head was fixed to a tree where it remained for ten years. Little Harpe escaped authorities and later joined the forces of Samuel Mason’s gang. After beheading Mason, Little Harpe strolled into town with the intention to claim his rightful reward only to be immediately recognized by officials. Consequently, Little Harpe was arrested and hanged in 1804.

Adam is just a hubcap trying to hold on in the fast lane.

10 Astonishing And Infamous Mermaid Sightings

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10 Astonishing And Infamous Mermaid Sightings



Since the beginning of recorded history, legends have been born surrounding the elegant, beautiful, and sometimes treacherous mermaid. Their siren songs, beautiful looks, and ocean dwelling lifestyle has made the mermaid an enigma in the minds of people everywhere. Cultures across the world have their own versions of this magical being, from the ningyo of Japan to Ariel of Disney fame. A question does come to mind at the mention of mermaids: are they real?

For centuries, people from all walks of life have claimed to see this myth in the flesh. Are they real sightings? Are they tricks of the light and the eye? Are people feigning mermaid discoveries for the attention and publicity? It seems history has not answered any of those questions, as sightings are still occurring to this day. Is the mermaid a legend, or is her powerful song still pulling people into her mythical realm?


10The Mermaid of Kiryat Yam


In 2009, mermaid fever swept through the Israeli town of Kiryat Yam as a mermaid was making appearances at dusk, often performing tricks for locals and tourists alike. People in the town were claiming to see a being that was part young woman and part fish. The first local to have seen the mermaid claims that she was sunbathing, and as he and his friends approached her, she bounded from the sand and disappeared into the waves. They were all shocked to discover that the sunbathing woman had no legs, but a tail instead.

This one sighting was not an isolated event; as word spread about the mermaid, hundreds of people came forward claiming they had seen the Kiryat Yam mermaid. The Kiryat Yam mermaid has become so popular, that the town council has offered a one million dollar reward for any evidence that this mysterious creature exists. So far, only passing glances have been noted, and no one is a million dollars richer.

9Columbus and Caribbean Mermaids


Christopher Columbus is famously known for his encounters with mermaids on his voyages near Hispaniola. Columbus wrote in his ship’s log that he and the crew encountered three mermaids whilst in the water around the island of Hispaniola. Columbus documents that the mermaids were cavorting in the water, and when the ship drew near, the three mermaids rose out of the water.

To Columbus’s dismay, the mermaids were not as beautiful as depicted in the stories of yore. Columbus thought the mermaids to be quite undesirable and mannish. Today, it is believed that Columbus and his waterlogged crewwere actually seeing a group of manatees. Questions arise, however: would a seasoned captain like Columbus truly mistake the chubby sea cow for a woman, no matter her appearance?


8Zimbabwe Mermaids


In 2012, constructions crews in Zimbabwe were scared away from their work on the Gokwe and Osbourne dams by an irate mermaid. Referred to as themamba muntu by the locals, the mermaids were harassing workers as they attempted to complete construction on the dams. The local workers, raised in an area of folklore and myth, believed the appearance of the mamba muntu to be a bad omen and refused to finish construction on the dam.

The local council, in an attempt to pursue the continued construction of the dams, hired white workers to finish the job; this was an attempt to hire persons not engulfed in the legend and popularity of the mamba muntu sightings. However, these workers fled the construction site as well, and they vowed never to return due to the rage and harassment of the Zimbabwe river mermaid.

In an attempt to placate the irritated mermaids, local council members and chieftains decided to perform ritual rites and cleansings to allow for further development of the dams. The natural and supernatural are often of the same realm in the country of Zimbabwe; mermaids, or just illusions of the brain and eye?

7The Orang Ikan


During 1943, World War II was still raging on; the war, however, did not stop the appearance of one of the most well-documented mermaid sightings. On the Kei Islands of Indonesia, Japanese soldiers had set up a surveillance team. During the time there, several members of the surveillance team reported seeing a small humanoid figure in the water with spines on its neck and head and a mouth like a carp. The mermaid figure was often seen playing in lagoons and near the beach shores of the Kei Islands. The Japanese soldiers were bewildered by what they were seeing, but after speaking to the natives, they learned that the mystical mermaid-like creature was actually a known entity called the orang ikan or “human fish.”

As sightings continued, a sergeant with the group, Mr. Taro Horiba, was invited by the indigenous people of the island to see what they had caught in their fishing nets. Upon arrival at the village, he entered the chieftain’s home to find one of these creatures splayed out on the floor. Horiba described a small body with red-brown hair, spines along the neck, a humanoid face with a lipless, fish-like mouth full of needle sharp teeth. Mr. Horiba was confused and shocked by what he saw and urged zoologists to investigate after the war. No one believed any of his stories of mermaids in the Kei Islands. Did Mr. Horiba see a true mermaid or was this a simple misidentification?

6Active Pass Mermaid


In 1967, British Colombia became a hub of mermaid excitement when a mermaid was spotted lounging on the shore of Mayne Island. Ferry riders that evening saw a blonde woman sitting on the beach shore, she was topless, had long blonde hair, and the tail of a porpoise. Some witnesses became very upset as they believed they saw the mermaid eating a salmon, raw, on the beach that day.

After the sighting by the ferry passengers, the mermaid was seen one more time the following week. As the locals got swept up by the spotting of this mysterious mermaid, the town locals began to seek any information relating to her. The town newspaper, The Colonist, put up at $25,000 reward for the mermaid. Arrangements were even made for the mermaid to have room and board once she was found and successfully acclimated into the town setting. Although many believe that this entire mermaid sighting was a charade, there were still many who believed that what they saw was real. Is the Mayne Island mermaid a myth and or a well-played tourism ploy?


5The Kaaiman


In 2008, waves were being made in South Africa as a legendary mermaid called the Kaaiman was making a splash in the news. A group of friends were camping near a river when they heard loud splashing and loud banging noises. Upon further investigation, the group came upon a woman in the water. The woman appeared to be pale white, with long black hair. Her skin had an opalescence that made her seem as if she was nearly glowing. The most shocking feature was seen when the woman turned to the group—she had piercing red eyes.

A woman ran to investigate the claims that the Kaaiman had been seen. She noted that the mermaid made a sorrowful cry, like a woman crying. After a moment of chaos with the group, the mermaid disappeared into the murky water. People of South Africa are leery of the Kaaiman, as she is known for pulling people under and trapping them beneath the depths with the objects in which you most desire. A distressed swimmer or a legendary mermaid? The people of South Africa are still questioning if they saw a legend in the flesh.

4Hebridean Mermaid


Scotland has countless mysteries and legends, with mermaids taking a place in their folklore. However, in 1830, a mermaid was apparently seen andsubsequently killed by the people of Benbecula. While cutting seaweed near the shore one day, a woman claimed to have a seen a miniature woman swimming in the water. Surprised by her discovery, she called many people over to view the water dweller. As men began to rush at her in the water, she quickly swam out of their reach. Some boys in the group threw stones at the scared mermaid, one actually striking her in the back. A few days later, the corpse of the mermaid supposedly washed up on the shore. Like many of the other claims of mermaids, this one was small, with pale white skin and had the tail of a fish without scales.

After the body of the deceased mermaid had been found, the sheriff of the town thought it was only fitting that the mermaid have a proper burial. A coffin was made and the body was wrapped in a shroud. The mermaid’s coffin was then buried above the shoreline where she was found. Although the tale of the mermaid’s grave has withstood the test of time, no one is certain where the body was buried; no markers or signs have denoted where she may lie. So what did the people Benbecula see that day? Did they actually make the horrible mistake of killing a legend?

3The New Zealand Mermaid


New Zealand found itself swept up in mermaid legends when, in 2014, a crew of fisherman claimed to have found the remains of a mermaid on the South Island . The fishermen were concerned they had discovered the body of a possible murder victim. However, upon closer inspection by local authorities, it was evident that the skeleton was not entirely human.

The body resembled that of a human-like creature that was shown to have aquatic features. The discovery ran rampant with everyone in New Zealand learning about the aquatic humanoid found on the South Island. Since the authorities were unsure what to make of the find, the University of Auckland was brought in to explain what the fisherman had found. Can mermaids be added to the already odd assortment of wildlife found in the land of New Zealand?

2Bering Sea Mermaids

bering sea

Henry Hudson was exploring the cold northern waters off Norway in the year 1608. Written in his journal, he describes a day when he had a strange encounter with a group of mermaids. The mermaid, Hudson claimed, saw his crew and proceeded to call up more of her mermaid sisters. He described the women as being as big as the men in his crew, with very white skin and long dark hair. Making his way down their bodies, Hudson discovered the tail which he described like that of a dolphin, but with the spotting of a mackerel. Hudson seemed thrilled with his discovery of mermaids.

Like many of the sailors of the time, people often assume that it is possible that sailors on the high seas were mistaking animals, often manatees, as these nautical beauties. Hudson’s case is strange because, sailing in the Bering Sea near Norway, there are no manatees. Naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, in his mid-1800s work The Romance of Natural History, believes there is no way that Hudson was mistaking an animal for this mermaid. He believes seasoned sailors such as Hudson would be able to identify animals in that location easily. Gosse believes Hudson either made this entire story up or Hudson saw something truly unique to the realm of science. Are their mermaids living in the cold arctic waters? Or was this just a wild sailor’s tale?

1The Deerness Mermaid


Scotland appears to have its fair share of mermaid sightings throughout history. Beginning in 1890, Newark Bay became the location of multiple mermaid sightings. Many people thought the talk of mermaids was justhearsay and rumor, however, many people began sharing their tales of what they termed the Deerness mermaid. However, this mermaid was not the beauty of past legends. People described a seven-foot long humanoid, with pale white skin and black hair. The locals described her crawling onto rocks using her arms and sliding back into the waves. The few glances of her that people got were at a distance; the Deerness mermaid was apparently quite wary and stayed far from the beach shore. However, the Deerness mermaid only stayed in the bay for a few summers and then silently disappeared back into the murky depths. Mermaid or whale? Fact or fiction? For the people of Newark Bay, the legend lives on.

Library tech, grad student, and nerd girl extraordinaire. Love animals, science, and all things weird.

10 Incredible Discoveries That Changed Ancient Archaeology

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10 Incredible Discoveries That Changed Ancient Archaeology



There is nothing quite like finding the first bone or brick of ancient remains. While such discoveries can take mere moments, understanding the whole story behind ruins, lost kingdoms, and old familiars can take decades. Archaeological sites can grind to a standstill, only moving forward again with the “story” when the next find falls into place like a lost puzzle piece. These additional discoveries can change long-held beliefs, open new mysteries, and even change the entire purpose of an ancient site.


10De Palomares Tomb


Miguel de Palomares was one of the first Catholic Priests to arrive in Mexico after the Spanish conquest in 1521. His grave was discovered by accident when, in 2016, workers dug a pit for a lamp post. When archaeologists widened the space, they discovered a large slab with the name de Palomares carved on it. The two-meter-long gravestone marks an unusual burial placefor a Catholic priest—beneath the floor of an Aztec temple.

For a long time, scholars were aware that the Spaniards erected churches over native religious sites. The behavior was labeled as a dominant display of whose god was better, in effect, a symbolic replacement of the local deities by Christianity. Now, it would appear that the Spaniards were a little more practical-minded. The Aztec temples had solid foundations and sturdy walls, all ready to be used. To save time, de Palomares’s particular temple’s floor was simply whitewashed and otherwise left untouched when it was turned into Mexico City’s first cathedral in 1524.

9Victorian Tastes


A slice of the Victorian palate was revealed during construction work in London. In 2010, a demolition team took apart an old nightclub to make way for the Crossrail station. The club hailed from the 1970s but had been built over an even older site. Crosse & Blackwell had a factory there from 1830 to 1921, and archaeologists got a peek at the products that appealed to the Victorians.

Beneath the former nightclub, they found over 13,000 jars. Pots of Mushroom Catsup, jam, marmalade, and Piccalilli made up the discarded stash of flavors. The cistern in which they were found powered the factory’s steam engines up until the 1870s when it became a dump during an overhaul of the warehouse. The massive haul is valuable due to its size, rarity, and ability to reveal the tastes of the time. After shutting down, the factory became a cinema in 1927 before opening as a nightclub in 1976.


8The Sterling Stones


At the entrance to Police Scotland Central Division’s Randolphfield HQ, based in Sterling, stands a pair of standing stones. For a long time, these were admired as 3,000-year-old monuments with a mysterious connection to a nearby ancient graveyard. It turns out, the pair could be honoring a much more recent event. Radiocarbon testing placed the stone sentinels closer to 1314.

Something of note did occur in the area during that year. The English and Scottish clashed in the Battle of Bannockburn. On the first day, under the lead of Sir Thomas Randolph (also the Earl of Moray), the Scots cleverly managed to redirect the route of the larger English army. This protected Sterling Castle from an intended attack and also helped the Scottish side to defeat their enemy in a historic encounter the next day. Much like a commemoration plaque today, it is believed that the standing stones were placed on the battlefield to mark Randolph’s success when he managed to throw the English off course.

7The Edo Map


In 2017, experts at the Matsue History Museum decided to re-examine one of its artifacts, “Edo Hajimezu”—an illustration of an ancient building in Tokyo. The 400-year-old map showed Edo Castle, a vast structure that belonged to the feudal family Tokugawa. Continual rebuilding obscured Edo Castle’s original design until researchers realized that the old map showed it all along.

Drawn shortly after the castle was completed, between 1607 and 1609, it was a testimony to a clan that took no chances with their own safety. The design was highly defensive, more fort than home-sweet-home. Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616), who built Edo, was at war with the Toyotomi family for the top dog position.

The map revealed a great deal about walls, mounds, and the castle’s interior. The most fascinating defense architecture could be seen to the south of the castle. The gates and walls were planned in such a way that the enemy would have been forced to zigzag instead of advancing in a straight line. Unfortunately, this innovative feature did not survive to modern times.

6House Of Gates

house of gates

It is hard to imagine that finding a gate at a place called the “House of Gates” would surprise anyone, but this one did. Beit She’arim (Hebrew for “House of Gates”) is a UNESCO world heritage site located in northern Israel. When excavations in 2016 turned up a mammoth gateway, the diggers were stunned. It included half of what appeared to have been a fortified wall with doors and a tower.

During the Roman and Byzantine eras, Beit She’arim was a hub of Jewish culture and law. However, the town remained small and thus far, assumed to have had no need for protective city walls. So convinced were the experts that they believed the word “gates” in its ancient name could not be literal. They even skewed it as Beit Sharay, which means “court.” Since the town was the headquarters of the Jewish judicial council, the theory fit snugly.

The discovery of the imposing limestone gates forced archaeologists to rethink the town’s name and purpose. Dating to Roman times, there is even the intriguing possibility that the gatehouse is the first ruins of an unknown Roman fortress at the site.


5Kingdom Of Rheged


The Galloway Picts Project was started in 2012 to unravel the history behind rock carvings discovered in Trusty’s Hill Fort. When their meaning became clear, or rather what researchers believe they represent, it recovered a lost kingdom. Nobody was looking for Rheged when they first began studying the Pictish symbols on the bedrock. They were unique to the area, which made for a good archaeological riddle. Also, while its exact location was not known, the sixth-century kingdom was thought to be somewhere in Cumbria.

The inscriptions did not confirm that there was once a community of Picts in Galloway, but instead hinted heavily at a royal citadel from the Dark Ages (around A.D. 600). The excavations produced enough evidence to suggest that Trusty’s Hill was once at the center of Rheged. If so, the rediscovery of the kingdom is a fantastic find. Rheged was a prominent powerhouse among the northern kingdoms, and its influence was felt throughout Scotland’s literature and history.

4Mayan Superhighways


Ancient highways exist in the jungles of northern Guatemala. Covering an area of over 150 miles, it first came to the public’s attention in 1967 when British explorer Ian Graham published a map of El Mirador that included the roads.

El Mirador was once the largest city-state with around a million citizens living inside its boundaries of 833 square miles. Due to being covered by thick rain forest, the causeways proved difficult to study. To bypass the secretive forest canopy, a laser project was started in 2006. After scanning the Mirador Basin from the air, remarkable 3D images showed massive superhighways and other structures that surprised even the research team.

Highly detailed pyramids, canals, terraces, and animal corrals were revealed. The most exciting discovery was the scope of the 17-road network. Snaking over the land, at some places as far as 25 miles, the causeways were up to 20 feet high and 130 feet wide. They were built at different times, between 600-400 B.C. and 300 B.C.-A.D. 100. The sophisticated road system united the large state by allowing the transport of supplies and people.

3Ancient Construction Site


The archaeological site of Qantir-Piramesse once hosted Egypt’s capital, Pi-Ramesse, under the rule of Pharaoh Ramesses the Great. Established between 1300 B.C. and 1100 B.C., no substantial ruins remain of what was likely the biggest human settlement during the Bronze Age.

A German team used a novel way to find subterranean leftovers of the great city. For an incredible sixteen years (1996-2012), they magnetically mapped the area. Since ancient mud-brick buildings have a different magnetic “look” than normal earth, foundations and walls soon started to appear. They were enormous. Upon closer inspection, researchers felt they were looking at a construction site. The large-scale restoration project was perhaps set up around a palace and temple complex.

Not far away was a pit with mortar at the bottom. Touchingly, the footprints of a toddler were preserved in this layer. Something else was found in the pit, and it could change the face of Egyptian art. Fragments of plaster may sound mundane, but these appeared to belong to a decorative fresco, something almost unheard of during this particular era.

2The Montezuma Attack


One of Arizona’s landmarks received a tragic overhaul of its past. The two buildings, carved from a limestone cliff almost 900 years ago, form a part of Montezuma Castle National Monument. For more than eight decades, the disappearance of the inhabitants was one of the Southwest’s greatest mysteries.

Signs that the dwellings suffered a serious fire was filed away as a “decommissioning ritual” done after the evacuation. However, Hopi traditions tell of their ancestors, the Sinagua, being attacked on site—and the story includes the use of arson as a weapon. The Tonto Apache have a similar tale but of their ancestors trying to flush the Sinagua out with fire. Modern investigations provided the archaeological evidence to these tales.

The period between 1375-1395 is significant. Pottery was produced and the blaze happened, indicating that people lived there until the last moments. Four bodies found together in the 1930s were thought to predate the flames, but another look revealed their gruesome end. Three had fractured skulls. All had cut and burn marks sustained shortly before death. A brutal attack explains the sudden departure, but archaeologists still do not know what sparked the assault.

1Sahara Castles


The Garamantes was an enigmatic African people. In 2011, an expedition to Libya to find out more about the mysterious Garamantes was cut short by civil war. Another attempt, using satellite photography, gave researchers a good view of over 100 fortified settlements belonging to the lost civilization.

Walled towns and villages stood abandoned in the Sahara 620 miles south of Tripoli. Dating A.D. 1-500, the mud-brick structures were masterfully constructed, and there are still walls standing up to 13 feet (4 meters) high. All earlier understanding of the culture came from the Garamantes’ capital, Jarma, about 125 miles to the northwest.

Jarma revealed a powerful African kingdom with a writing system, metallurgy, trading, and textiles. The Sahara fortresses added another remarkable achievement. In the super-dry environment, they created oases where crops flourished. They did this with a complex subterranean canal system that brought groundwater to the surface. Why the fortresses were abandoned is unknown. Most likely, disappearing water sources and trade routes collapsing with the fall of the Roman Empire contributed.

10 Disturbing Facts About The Armenian Genocide

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10 Disturbing Facts About The Armenian Genocide



2015 marked the hundredth year since the Armenian Genocide began, where it is approximated that 1.5 million of the two million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire lost their lives. The Ottoman Empire’s meticulous cover-up of events, as well as the overwhelming scale of their systematic barbarism, means that the real number will never be known and greatly fluctuates from source to source. Such is the nature of genocide, that the perpetrators wish to eradicate any record of the victimized. From the sources that have survived, we have compiled the following ten disturbing facts about the Armenian Genocide.


10The Three Pashas Led the Ottoman Empire into War and Enacted the Genocide


The Three Pashas is the collective name given to Talât Pasha, Grand Vizier (the equivalent of Prime Minister); Enver Pasha, Minister of War; and Djemal Pasha, Minister of the Navy; during World War I.

Talât Pasha’s hatred towards Armenians was longstanding. In his memoirs, Danish philologist Johannes Østrup contends that Talât shared his intent for the complete annihilation of Armenians with him as early as 1910. He quotes Talât as saying, “If I ever come to power in this country, I will use all my might to exterminate the Armenians.”

His wish for power came true in 1913, by way of a coup. The following year, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I, and then a year later began the systematic murder of Armenians.

Following the Empire’s defeat in the war, all three fled the country. The new government vilified them as the reason for the Empire’s debilitating participation in the war, and they sporadically acknowledged the Three Pashas for their overwhelming crimes against humanity.

When referring to the massacres that took place under the Three Pashas’ rule, Abdülmecid II, the last Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman Dynasty, is quoted as saying, “They are the greatest stain that has ever disgraced our nation and race.”

9One of Hitler’s Early Co-Conspirators Was a Witness to the Armenian Genocide


Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter was the German vice-consul in Erzerum at the time of the Armenian genocide. He condemned the Ottoman Empire’s practices in his writings as a policy of annihilation.

Upon his return to Germany, however, he became deeply involved with the Nazi movement, developing a close relationship with Hitler. He was shot and instantly killed during the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, marching with his arm linked to Hitler’s. Hitler would go on to dedicate the first part of Mein Kampf to Scheubner-Richter. While records of their conversations are scarce, it is a likely leap that Hitler was well-versed on Scheubner-Richter’s writings and experiences.

On August 22, 1939, Hitler gave a speech at his Obersalzberg home. It was a week before the German invasion of Poland, and he expressed to his Wehrmacht commanders his wish for the total annihilation of the Poles. Louis P. Lochner, who had sources within the Nazi government, claimed he had been given an original transcript of the speech, which he then published in his 1942 book, What About Germany? It quotes Hitler as saying, “I have put my Death’s Head formations in place with the command relentlessly and without compassion to send into death many women and children of Polish origin and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space we need. Who after all is today speaking about the destruction of the Armenians?”

Although it is a matter of content how much of a direct influence the Armenian genocide was on the Holocaust—the similarities are clear, as well as Hitler’s knowledge of the atrocities.


8Able Men Were Put to Death and the Remaining Armenians Were Marched into the Desert


The genocide’s starting date is often cited as April 24, 1915, when up to 270 Armenian community leaders were forcefully removed from Constantinople and moved to Ankara. Predating this, the Ottomans had moved all Armenian people in the army to unarmed labor battalions, to make their eventual extermination easier to enforce.

Once all able-bodied Armenian men of the Ottoman Empire were slain, women, children, the infirm, and the elderly were marched into the desert under the guise of resettlement. In total, up to 1.5 million Armenians died in the genocide. At the start of World War I, two million Armenians were living within the Ottoman Empire, meaning three out of four were killed.

Many Armenians died from starvation and dehydration. Females of all ages were habitually raped and left for dead. Mass shootings, drowning, burning, and poisoning were also common. People who managed to cling to life for the entirety of the death march were then placed in concentration camps, where they were massacred.

7ISIS Is Blamed for Destroying the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor


Construction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church reached completion in November 1990, and it was consecrated on May 4, 1991. The church was an important pilgrimage site for many Armenians. The greatest massing of people happening every year on the 24th of April, to mark the commencement date of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Thousands would visit to pay their respects.

Deir ez-Zor, Syria, is significant because it was the final destination point for the Armenians who marched through the desert. The exact location of the church was once the site of a concentration camp, killing center, and burial place for the Armenians who managed to survive the death march.

The church was <ahref=”https: http://www.armenianow.com=”&#8221; commentary=”” analysis=”” 57070=”” armenia_church_syria_isis_aram_catholicos”=”” target=”_blank”>blown up on September 21, 2014, as Armenia was celebrating the 23rd anniversary of its independence, and mere months before the 100th anniversary of the genocide. ISIS have been labeled as the likely culprits.

6The Greek and Assyrian Genocides Happened at the Same Time


The Armenians suffered the most deaths during the Ottoman Empire’s attempts to eradicate Christian minorities, in and around the period of World War I, and thus, the Armenian Genocide is often the focus point of discussion. However, running concurrently with this was the genocide of both the Assyrians and the Greeks.

The Assyrian death count has been estimated to be around 300,000, with the killings largely happening around the Empire’s border with Persia. In the town of Midyat, where 25,000 Assyrians lost their lives, there was a small uprising, which was ultimately squashed by the Empire. For revolutionary acts such as this one, the Ottoman Empire’s murder of Assyrians has been classified by some Turkish historians as a response to rebellion, which can be classified as a massacre but not genocide.

The Greek death count has been estimated to be around 750,000. In 1923, a population exchange happened between Turkey and Greece, effectively ending the bloodshed, where two million people were forcibly removed from their homes. Approximately 1.2 million Christian Greeks were relocated from Trabzon, the Pontic Alps, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Eastern Thrace. In return, around 400,000 Muslims were kicked out of Greece and welcomed into Turkey.


5The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Took Retaliatory Action


Known as Operation Nemesis, between 1920 and 1922, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation assassinated seven prominent Ottoman and Azerbaijani officials responsible for the genocide. Djemal Pasha and Talât Pasha—two-thirds of the group known as the Three Pashas, were killed by the ARF.

Both had fled the invading allies at the end of World War I and were largely blamed as the reason for the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war. They had been sentenced, in their absence, to death through their home country’s legal system. Their state executions would never happen.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation tracked down Djemal Pasha in Tiflis, Soviet Georgia, and shot him dead, along with two aides. Talât Pasha was shot dead by Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin on March 15, 1921. The ARF had told Tehlirian not to flee, in order to increase the visibility of the Armenian people’s suffering with the ensuing trial. It was a successful tactic—the trial attracting much international press coverage.

Tehlirian was acquitted of murder. His defense successfully argued that although he had killed Talât Pasha, the ordeal of the Armenian Genocide had affected his mental state. Tehlirian stated to the judge, “I do not consider myself guilty because my conscience is clear . . . I have killed a man but I am not a murderer.”

4The Three Pashas Used World War I as a Smokescreen for Genocide


It was key to the Three Pashas that acts of genocide should be carried out hurriedly while the fog of war was still in play. By doing so, foreign hands would be tied up with other pressing issues and would have no time to sort out any humanitarian crises.

They were even known to brag of their actions. Talât Pasha is quoted as saying to a German embassy representative, who brought up the genocide, “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e. the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

Although the majority of atrocities took place during the war years, an official end-date is a matter of semantic contention, with some arguing it to be as late as 1923—five years after the Three Pashas fled the country following their defeat in World War I.

3Turkey Has Streets and Public Buildings Named after the Perpetrators of the Genocide


The denial of the genocide has been so successful that many Ottoman politicians who helped with the liquidation process are remembered favorably in parts of Turkey. The Three Pashas themselves lend their names to boulevards, avenues, highways, and municipal districts. They also have schools named after them.

In 2003, Cemal Azmi, also known as the “Butcher of Trabzon” had a school named after him, too. It is documented that he was particularly cruel to children, who he would drown by the thousands. A method often employed was to send boats out into the Black Sea and capsize them.

Young girls regularly met a worse fate. During the Trabzon trials in 1919, an eyewitness stated that Azmi would have orgies with Armenian girls in a hospital that he transformed into his own personal “pleasure dome”, after which the girls would all be killed.

Azmi is one of the seven notable leaders assassinated by the ARF as part of Operation Nemesis.

2Armenians Have Not Received Reparations


The Ottomans seized the money and possessions of the Armenians. However, to this day, nothing that belonged to an Armenian before the genocide has been returned to its rightful owner. The widespread destruction and emotional duress have never been compensated for in any form, either.

Much of the argument against reparations stems from the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, meaning the offending power no longer exists to be held accountable. In its place is Turkey, and those who favor Armenian reparations believe that Turkey is thus responsible for repaying the debts incurred by the Ottoman Empire. After all, all land and property that the Ottomans stole is now Turkish land and property.

There is a precedent in place with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, who have received, on occasion, forms of compensation for the genocide they suffered. Thus, another, often argued, potential reason for Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide emerges—if there was no genocide, then survivors do not have to be legally treated in the same way as survivors of other genocides.

1Turkey Still Deny That a Genocide Ever Happened


Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, has always denied that what began in 1915 was a systematic genocide of Armenians. Azerbaijan is the only other country whose government actively deny it was genocide.Many countries refuse to make a conclusive statement one way or the other.

Turkish governments have been accused of actively attempting to suppress usage of the term “genocide,” advising prominent politicians, journalists, and scholars, from around the globe, to adopt a policy of reduction or silence.

This denial of the term “genocide” becomes painfully ironic when considering that the word was first used by Raphael Lemkin in his 1943 book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, to give a name to these specific atrocities and those of the Nazis. He defined genocide as, “A coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” So, with this in mind, these atrocities are pretty much the textbook definition of genocide.

David is a freelance writer and Creative Writing MA student. You can read more of his articles at CultureRoast // Follow him // Like him.