The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



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Today in History: Abraham Lincoln Dies

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 15, 2018 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 15) in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died. He’d been shot the night before in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth while watching the play, The American Cousin, at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln’s bodyguard was drinking in the saloon next door. While most of the country reacted with shock and sorrow, Lincoln haters cheered the news.

Today in History: UFOs in 16th Century Nuremberg?

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 14, 2018 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 14) in 1561 a bizarre celestial phenomenon occurred in the skies above Nuremberg which contemporaries described as an aerial battle. According to broadsheet printed that month the phenomenon occurred at dawn and involved hundreds of spheres and strangely shaped objects flying about the sky in combat to each other. After these crashed from the sky, a large black triangular spear appeared.

UFO enthusiasts understandably think that UFOs were being described. Skeptics tend to credit the sundog phenomenon (an optical illusion which makes it appear that more than one sun is in the sky) is to blame. Photographs of both the broadsheet and a sundogare provided on my" target="_blank"> Facebook Author Page.

Today in History: Catholics Gain the Right to Vote in the UK

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 13, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 13) in 1829 Great Britain passed the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 granting its Roman Catholic citizens the right to vote and to serve in Parliament. Catholic emancipation was bitterly opposed by many in England, including King George IV and the House of Lords. It only passed because of the strong support of the Duke of Wellington who threatened to resign as Prime Minister if these basic rights were not given to the Catholics. (Wellington feared that a major uprising would occur in Ireland if something was not done to address the civil rights issue.) The Act also repealed the Test Act of 1672 and the remaining Penal Laws in Ireland which were designed to coercer Catholics into converting to Protestantism. As a compromise with opponents of Catholic emancipation, the property requirements for voting in Ireland were raised from two to ten pounds, disenfranchising many less wealthy Catholics and Protestants.

Today in History: Jonas Salk Conquers Polio

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 12, 2018 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 12) in 1955, Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine saving some 350,000 people from contracting polio each year.

Today in History: The Fourth Crusade

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 12, 2018 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 12) in 1204, the knights of the Fourth Crusade breached the walls of Constantinople, leading to their conquest of another Christian power which certainly wasn’t what they had sworn to do when they took the cross. It was an important sign that there was something wrong with the crusading concept. (Another such sign would be the “successful” Sixth Crusade led by Emperor Frederick II who was suffering under the penalty of excommunication.)

Today in History: The Stone of Scone

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 11, 2018 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 11) in 1951, The Stone of Scone (also called The Stone of Destiny) was found on the altar of Arbroath Abbey. Various legends trace the stone back to either Ireland or biblical times, but however it came to be in Scotland, it came to be used in the coronation of Scottish Kings. In 1296, King Edward I of England captured the Stone and transported it to England where it was installed in the base of a wooden chair now known as the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey and became part of the English monarchy’s coronation rituals. On Christmas Day in 1950, 4 Scottish students stole the stone (accidentally breaking it in two) and eventually succeeded in returning it to Scotland where it was repaired (and no, I don’t know how you repair a broken stone). After approximately four months, they left the stone in Arbroath Abbey from which it was eventually returned to Westminster Abbey. However, in 1996 it was returned to Ireland to be stored with the Scottish Crown Jewels until it is needed for the next coronation ceremony.

Today in History: The Virginia Company

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 10, 2018 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 10) in 1606, King James I of England granted a charter to the Virginia Company, empowering them to colonize territory that England had claimed in North America. Their first successful settlement would be called Jamestown.

Today in History: Halley's Comet

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 10, 2018 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 10) in 837, Halley’s Comet made its closest approach to the earth at 3.2 million miles. That’s approximately 13 times farther from the earth than the moon is. The idea of a comet (or similar celestial body) hitting the earth has long fascinated and worried people. (After all, there are some big examples of catastrophic damage being done from such a strike.)One of the best fictional accounts of such a strike is Lucifer’s Hammer, by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.

Today in History: The Battle of the Saints

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 9, 2018 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April 9) in 1782, the Battle of the Saints took place—a little known battle of the American Revolutionary War. The French fleet which had helped to trap General Cornwallis at Yorktown united with Spanish forces and attempted to invade Jamaica to take it from Britain. The battle lasted four days and ended in a serious French defeat because the British broke the French lines. French casualties were more than ten times the British casualties plus they had 5000 soldiers and sailors captured, but the British might have won a far more decisive victory if they had pursued the fleeing French fleet. In any event, the victory was sufficiently large to change the strategic situation and permit the British to threaten the French sugar islands, leading the French to lessen their demands for peace.

Today in History: The 17th Amendment

Posted by Gilbert Stack on April 8, 2018 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (April Eight) in 1917, the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became the law of the land. This amendment provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators by the people. Previously they had been elected by state legislatures.