I had long been aware of the WWI legend of The Angel of Mons
, in which a piece of deliberate fiction was accepted as literal truth.
But I was unaware until recently that right in my own backyard, in nearby Hadley, Massachusetts, a similar bit of fiction-as-history existed, the Angel of Hadley
, the account of how a mysterious elderly warrior saved settlers from the Indians.
Another good piece on the subject here.
It appears that the 126 year old cold case of Jack the Ripper
has been solved by DNA testing. A shawl that was alleged to have been found next to Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper's victims, carries mitochondrial DNA profiles from both Eddowes' line and the familial line of one of the Ripper suspects. Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski, who subsequently spent his later years in mental asylums, lived in the area of the killings, and was a suspect, left his DNA behind on a bloody shawl. That shawl turned out to be a time capsule for justice.
Back in the 17th century, if you suffered from a burst blood vessel in your eye, the medical treatment of the day called for squirting pigeon blood in your eye. This was to be repeated 5 or 6 times. The treatment is recorded in a number of medical manuscripts, such as this anonymously authored one
from 1663 preserved in the Wellcome Collection. [via The Recipes Project
For a stroke or pricke in the eye if it causeth payne:
Take a pidgeon and let him blood in one of the winges in the vein & let the blood spinne out of the veine into the eye & it will helpe you yf you use it 5 or 6 tymes.
As magic tricks go, the "I can vomit wine" claim has died a deserved death. One imagines that neither David Copperfield, nor even Penn & Teller, will be reviving the spectacle of Floram Marchand any time soon.
Floram Marchand: The Great Water Spouter
In the summer of 1650, a Frenchman named Floram Marchand was brought
over from Tours to London, who professed to be able to 'turn water into
wine, and at his vomit render not only the tincture, but the strength
and smell of several wines, and several waters.' Here - the trick and
its cause being utterly unknown - he seems for a time to have gulled
and astonished the public to no small extent, and to his great profit.
Before, however, the whole mystery was cleared up by two friends of
Marchand, who had probably not received the share of the profits to
which they thought themselves entitled. Their somewhat circumstantial
account runs as follows.