Deadword of the Day: Ensorcelled

Ensorcelled: Enchanted, bewitched, fascinated.

As in: Marco is ensorcelled by the ambiance of Halloween. Also generally terrified.
 

History Schmistory: October 24. Steel Widow.

1901: With her only child dead and her only husband killed in the Civil War, aging schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor feared she was destined to end up in the poorhouse. But then she came up with a brilliant plan. First, she would pay professional coopers to construct a heavy duty, elongated and well-cushioned barrel. Then, on October 24th, her 63rd birthday, she would climb inside and ride it over the edge of Niagara Falls, a feat that would hopefully bring enough publicity and wealth to carry her comfortably into senectitude.
The stunt is a resounding success, and Annie becomes the first person ever to accomplish it, emerging from the certain-death-capsule with only a small gash on her head, though she made it clear she would rather “walk up to the mouth of a cannon” than ever try it again. Unfortunately, the story ends with Annie spending most of her earnings on private detectives in a futile search for the missing barrel, no doubt sold by her concurrently absent manager. Still, Annie Edson Taylor remains one of the most gutsy people in the history of daredevilry.

Deadword of the Day: Smittlish

Smittlish: Contagious.

As in: Don’t come any closer, I’m smittlish!

History Schmistory: October 23. Smurfin USA?

1958: The Smurfs, a fictional race of blue dwarves, appear for the first time in a weekly French comic-strip by Peyo called Johan and Peewit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s right, the Smurfs are actually French.

GO THERE! And tell us how they stack up…

The city of Anoka, Minnesota, has been celebrating Halloween festival style since 1920. Now they claim, with good reason, to be the “Halloween capital of the world”. And they have the mural to prove it…

History Schmistory: October 22. “I wasn’t ready!”

1926: Smarty-pants J. Gordon Whitehead sucker punches legendary magician, escapologist and stunt performer Harry Houdini in the stomach several times, rupturing his appendix. Houdini refuses medical attention and goes on to perform what would be his final show, collapsing several times in the duration. He dies a few days later in a Detroit hospital on Halloween. And this time it was no trick (or treat.)

 

 

 

 

Cryptozoology Break! Ahool.

Deep in the rainforest of Java, Indonesia, lurks a creature called the Ahool, first described in 1925, by Dr. Ernest Bartels, as a bat-like primate with claws, red eyes, grey fur, a 10 ft wingspan and a distinctive call; “AhOOOoool!” The Ahool is a beast that apparently prefers fish but would gladly devour some human flesh, as it was reported to have done in Zambia in 1956 to a poor, unsuspecting engineer who barely made it out alive. Stay out of the rainforest folks!

History Schmistory: October 21. UFO-snap!

1978: Australian pilot Frederick Valentich vanishes somewhere over the Bass Straight after reporting an unidentified aircraft hovering above him. Dude got jacked by some punk aliens.

History Schmistory: October 20. No worries, mate!

1973: 10 years overdue and $95 million over budget, the Sydney Opera House finally opens, and quickly becomes the universal icon of Australia. That is, until Crocodile Dundee comes out.

GO THERE! Pumpkin-heads!

This Saturday, if you love carving jack-o-lanterns and are anywhere near New Hampshire, the Keene Pumpkin Festival is your Halloween dream come true! And its “Orange Towers” are a pumpkin’s worst nightmare realized.

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