crime

Kaspar Hauser, the Mysterious Story of a Foundling

Kaspar Hauser, the Mysterious Story of a Foundling

On 26 May 1828, a teenage boy appeared in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. The boy, who answered to the name Kaspar Hauser, claimed to have grown up in the total isolation of a darkened cell. Hauser’s claims, and his subsequent death by stabbing, sparked much debate and controversy. Some theories about him at the time linked him with the grand ducal House of Baden to be the hereditary “Prince of Baden”.…
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The Assassination of a President

The Assassination of a President

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close, well known stage actor and Confederate spy John Wilkes Booth shot United States President Abraham Lincoln in the Presidential booth of the Ford’s theatre in Washington, D.C. And Lincoln should not be the last US president to be assassinated. He was followed by James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy, and if we also take attempts…
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J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

Title page with Émile Zola’s famous public letter ‘J’accuse…!’ On January 13, 1898, French novellist Émile Zola published an open letter in the newspaper L’Aurore entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”, or, in context, “I accuse you”). In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France Félix Faure, and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. Alfred Dreyfus was…
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The Death of Blackbeard

The Death of Blackbeard

On November 22, 1718, English pirate Edward Teach or Edward Thatch, better known as Blackbeard, was killed. Blackbeard operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of Britain’s North American colonies. Teach was a shrewd and calculating leader who spurned the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image to elicit the response that he desired from those whom he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day picture of the traditional tyrannical…
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Agnes Bernauer Trial and Death

Agnes Bernauer Trial and Death

On October 12, 1435, Agnes Bernauer, the mistress and perhaps also the first wife of Albert, later Albert III, Duke of Bavaria, was condemned for witchcraft and drowned in the Danube. Her life and death have been depicted in numerous literary works, the most well known being Friedrich Hebbel‘s tragedy of the same name. Agnes Bernauer, often called “the Bernauerin”, was probably born around 1410. Nothing is known of her childhood and…
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The Case of the Chief of the General Staff Alfred Redl

The Case of the Chief of the General Staff Alfred Redl

On May 25, 1913, officer of the Imperial Austrian army Alfred Redl passed away. Redl, who rose to head the counter-intelligence efforts of Austria-Hungary, was one of the leading figures of pre-World War I espionage. His term in office was marked by innovation, and he used advanced technology, for the time, to ensnare foreign intelligence agents. But he was himself a paid spy for the Russians. Claims that Redl also worked for the…
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M – A City looks for a Murderer

M – A City looks for a Murderer

On May 11, 1931, German drama-thriller “M – A city looks for a murderer” directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre premiered in Berlin at the UFA-Palast am Zoo. Now considered a classic, the film was deemed by Fritz Lang to be his finest work. M was ranked at number thirty-three in Empire magazines’ “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010. The film concerns both the actions of a…
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Albert Neisser and the Causative Agent of Gonorrhea

Albert Neisser and the Causative Agent of Gonorrhea

On January 22, 1855, German physician Albert Ludwig Sigesmund Neisser was born. Neisser discovered the causative agent (pathogen) of gonorrhea, a strain of bacteria that was named in his honour (Neisseria gonorrhoeae). Albert Neisser was the son of the back then well known physician Dr. Moritz Neisser. He studied at St. Maria Magdalena School in Breslau where he was a contemporary of the German physician and scientist Paul Ehrlich. Neisser obtained the Abitur…
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The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

On January 6, 2005, the mummy of Tutankhamun (c. 1355-1346 B.C.) was removed from its tomb in the Valley of the Kings to be subject of a state-of-the-art non invasive CT scan, which gave evidence that the young king had suffered a compound left leg fracture shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected, and did not support the popular assumption that the king had been murdered. Tutankhamun’s tomb…
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From the French Blue to the Hope Diamond

From the French Blue to the Hope Diamond

On September 11, 1792, while Louis XVI and his family were imprisoned in the Temple in the early stages of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, a group of thieves broke into the Royal Storehouse, the Hôtel du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, and stole most of the Crown Jewels during a five-day looting spree. Among those was also the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France, later English-speaking historians have simply called…
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