crime

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…
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…
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…
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…
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.…
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…
The Marquise de Brinvillier and the Affair of the Poisons

The Marquise de Brinvillier and the Affair of the Poisons

On July 16, 1676, French aristocrat Marie-Madeleine Marguerite d’Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers was found guilty of murder, convicted on the strength of letters written by her dead lover and a confession obtained by torture. Her trial and the scandal which followed it launched the notourious Affair of the Poisons, which saw several French aristocrats charged with witchcraft and poisoning. We’ve already had a focus on Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, aka La Voisin,…
Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfires of Vanity

Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfires of Vanity

On February 7, 1497, Florentine followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola burned a bonfire of vanities. Supporters of Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects such as cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival. Other targets included books that were deemed to be immoral, such as works by Boccaccio, and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings of Sandro Boticelli. Fra…
Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

On February 19, 1846, French orientalist and archeologist Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau was born. Besides his archeological research and field work, he is best known for his exposition of several archaeological frauds with the British Museum, the Imperial Museum, Berlin, or the Louvre in Paris. Charles Clermont-Ganneau was born in February, 1846. It is believed that he was the son of a sculptor. He pursued literary studies and learned Hebrew, Clermont-Ganneau…
Francois Villon –  Rogue, Vagrant and Poet

Francois Villon – Rogue, Vagrant and Poet

On January 5, 1463, the Death sentence to Francois Villon, best known French poet of the late Middle Ages, was remitted by a pardon from King Charles VII into 10 years of banishment. Villon is best known as a ne’er-do-well who was involved in criminal behavior and got into numerous scrapes with authorities. Nevertheless, Villon wrote about some of these experiences in his poems and became famous. Villon was born…
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