The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



Today in History: Pope Fabian Was Martyred

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 20, 2019 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 20) in 250, Pope Fabian was martyred for refusing to worship the Roman gods. Fabian was an unexpected pope, elected because on the thirteenth day of deliberations a dove landed on his head and his fellow bishops decided that was a sign from the Holy Spirit (often depicted as a dove) that God had chosen Fabian to lead the Church. He had an incredibly successful fourteen years as pope, reuniting Christians after the split in the church caused by the election of antipope, Hippolytus; sending out missionaries to Gaul; condemning the heresy of Privatus in Africa, and successfully convincing the Roman authorities to let him bring back the bodies of Pope Pontian and Antipope Hippolytus from the minds of Sardinia so they could be buried in Rome. Unfortunately, his good relations with the government ended when Emperor Decius decided to legitimize his imperial title by making all Romans give sacrifice to the gods. It’s thought that Fabian died in prison, although it is possible he was executed.

Today in History: Ford Pardons Iva Toguri for Treason

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 19, 2019 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 19) in 1977, Gerald Ford pardoned a woman known as Tokyo Rose for treason. The woman, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, had never called herself Tokyo Rose—that was a catch all name given to any woman broadcasting for the Japanese during World War II. Unable to return to America during the war and unwilling to renounce her American citizenship as demanded by the Japanese, she suffered persecution during the war and was forced to make radio broadcasts together with American POWs starting in 1943. She and her producers tried to make their program a farce and also refused to make any anti-American statements on the air.

After the war, still trying to return to her home in the U.S., Toguri answered an advertisement placed by Cosmopolitan and the International News Service offering $2000 for an exclusive interview with Tokyo Rose. Needing the money to get home, she answered the ad, gave the interview, and was arrested as she left. She was never paid and the interviewers called her interview a confession when they published it.

The FBI then investigated Toguri while holding her in prison for a year. They found no evidence that she had acted against America and in fact learned that she had risked her life smuggling food to American POWs. They let her go, but when she attempted to return to the U.S. a public outcry against her caused her to be arrested again and put on trial on eight counts of treason. It was the longest and most expensive trial in the U.S. up to that time and ended up convicting her on one count for having mentioned ships sinking on her broadcast. She was the seventh person in U.S. history convicted of treason.

Almost immediately, evidence problems with the trial began to appear. Witnesses before the Grand Jury that indicted Toguri began to admit that they had lied and that the FBI and Occupation police had not only coached them in what to say but threatened them with prosecution themselves if they didn’t commit perjury. These problems with the indictment and trial led Gerald Ford to pardon her on his last full day in office.

Today in History: A Marriage to End a Civil War

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 18, 2019 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January Eighteen) in 1486, Henry VII (a Lancaster) of England tried to definitively end the Wars of the Roses by marrying Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV. Of course, what really ended the Wars of the Roses is that Henry methodically killed off all of his Yorkist rivals so that they couldn’t contest his claim to the throne. This is one of the reasons I find the theory that Henry VII killed the Princes in the Tower quite credible—it was a move that was clearly in his character where it really doesn’t seem to have been in the character of Richard III despite what Tudor historian/propagandists of the time claimed.

Today in History: The Papacy Leaves France for Rome

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 17, 2019 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 17) in 1377 Pope Gregory XI moved the papacy back to Rome from Avignon, France where it had resided since 1309. Gregory died shortly after the move and the cardinals elected Urban VI at the instigation of a mob who demanded a Roman pope out of fear that another French pope would return to Avignon. The cardinals were then angered that Pope Urban was not pliant to their demands so many of them returned to Avignon where they deposed Urban VI and elected Clement VII. Urban VI did not recognize their power to depose him and did not step down. Clement VII is considered to be an anti-pope.

Today in History: The Birth of the Roman Empire

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 16, 2019 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 16) in 27 BCE, the Roman Senate granted the title of Augustus to Octavianus, grandnephew of Julius Caesar. It’s unclear if they understood it, but they had just ended the Roman Republic and founded the Roman Empire.

Today in History: A New Roman Emperor

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 15, 2019 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 15) in the year 69, Otho became Emperor of Rome by assassinating Emperor Galba in the Year of the Four Emperors. Otho only lasted three months before losing the Battle of Bedriacum to Vitellius. Otho committed suicide after Vitellius declared himself Emperor. Vitellius only enjoyed his victory until December when Vespasian overthrew him.

Today in History: The Human Be-In

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 14, 2019 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 14) in 1967, the Summer of Love began with the Human Be-In—a gathering of 20,000-30,000 American young people to listen to the music of bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead and speakers espousing what came be known as the Counter-Culture. The gathering shocked mainstream America by encouraging people to question authority in regard to civil rights, women’s rights and consumer rights.

Today in History: Edmund Spenser Died

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 13) in 1599, Edmund Spenser died. He was one of the greatest poets of the English language and is best known for his epic poem, The Faerie Queen. Yet he also spent much of his life serving the English government in Ireland and arguing for the eradication of all things Irish which certainly mars his reputation today.

Today in History: Operation Chopper

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 12, 2019 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 12) in 1962, the U.S. and the Republic of Vietnam jointly carried out Operation Chopper—the first U.S. combat mission in Vietnam. The mission involved U.S. helicopters carrying 1000 Vietnamese paratroopers on a raid against the Vietcong ten miles west of Saigon. The mission was totally successful.

Today in History: The Grand Canyon

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 11, 2019 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (January 11) in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon National Monument, preserving forever one of the great natural treasures of the United States. Thank you, President Roosevelt.