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Wilson's Blogmanac

Think universally. Act terrestrially.

Updated: 2018-03-17T11:08:53.843+11:00


Messenger Feast


Kivgiqsuat, Messenger Feast, Inuit of Alaska
"After the separation of the summer months the villagers begin socializing with other village groups. During the latter part of December and early January a social and economic gathering may be held in one of the villages. This gathering is called Kivgiqsuat, the Messenger Feast. The umialit (whaling captains) and their crews host these gatherings. An umialik and his crew usually spend a few years preparing for Kivgiqsuat. Food is gathered and stored, gifts are made or hunted for, new clothing and numerous other preparations are made for the gathering. During Kivgiqsuat partners from different villages exchange gifts. The umialit show the extent of their wealth and power through Kivgiqsuat, the celebration which brings Ieupiat from different villages together and strengthens their social ties (Spencer, 1959).
"The last Messenger Feast on the North Slope of Alaska was held in Wainwright (Alaska) in 1914. Presently the people of arctic Alaska are revitalizing the tradition of the Messenger Feast. January 1988 saw the first celebration of the Messenger Feast in Barrow in eighty years. True to the spirit of Kivgiqsuat several pledges were made that were directly related to social and political alliances. Additionally, one village vowed to use the memories of their elders to enhance the celebration for the following year. This cultural revitalization can only add to the richness of the lives of contemporary Ieupiat."
Source: Cultural Heritage of the Alaskan Inuit (PDF file)

Armistice Day


Lone horseman, Armistice Day in Bellingen, 11/11/'11. Photo by Solveig Larsen, with much thanks.

Armistice Day
, also known in Australia as Remembrance Day

Also known as Remembrance Day (and Poppy Day) , this commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning - the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire ...

Death of Wilhelm Reich


1957 Death of Wilhelm Reich, Austrian-born pseudo-scientist who lived in New England, USA, and convinced thousands of his ability to cure with quack remedies such as the 'Orgone Accumulator'. One owned by junkie writer William Burroughs is shown in this photograph. He was hounded by the US government, which had his books burned. On November 3, 1957, Wilhelm Reich died of a heart attack in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa, USA. "He claimed to see microscopic bionsdevelop from lifeless matter and organize themselves into living cells.  And he eventually came to believe he had discovered a primordial energy essential for life, which he called orgone energy, and which he was obsessed with for the rest of his life.  Along the way of making these various 'discoveries,' his works were either ignored or heavily criticized by the mainstream scientific community.  Reich seemed to take every criticism of his work as a personal attack.  He was convinced he had made the greatest discoveries in the history of humanity, next to which the discovery of electricity or the law of gravity or the wheel or fire were insignificant."  Source: A Skeptical Scrutiny of the Works and Theories of Wilhelm Reich Response to Irrational Critics and So-Called "Skeptics"   ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

The death of Tomás de Torquemada


(image) 1498 Death of Tomás de Torquemada, main player in the early part of the Spanish Inquisition.
The Spanish Inquisition ran from 1478 until 1834. Contrary to popular belief, its inquisitors only condemned about 25 Spanish witches to be burned at the stake. However, it wrought a horrible toll on heretics, Muslims, Jews, reformers and the intelligentsia. Some 114,350 citizens of Catholic Spain were tried in the Inquisition started by Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile. Torquemada was responsible for 2,000 burnings and the expulsion of thousands of Jews (1492).

Sep 15, Vincent Lunardi


1784 Vincent Lunardimade the first (acclaimed) aerial journey in England, flying in a balloon from the Artillery Ground, at Moorfields, in the presence of the Prince of Wales, Lord North, William Pitt the Younger, Charles Fox, Edmund Burke, the Duchess of Devonshire, various other distinguished personages, and about 150,000 common folk.Lunardi reached a height of some four miles (so he said). He finally touched down safely in a field near Ware, in Hertfordshire, so frightening local labourers that no promises of reward would induce them to approach the craft. For two years, the Italian aeronaut barnstormed England, until an accident in which a young man became entangled in a rope and fell to his death. One satirist wrote: Behold an Hero comely, tall and fair,His only food phlogisticated air, ...Now drooping roams about from town to Town Collecting pence t'inflate his poor balloon.Robert Chambers wrote: "Mr. Lunardi's publications exhibit him as a vain excitable young man, utterly carried away by the singularity of his position. He tells us how a woman dropped down dead through fright, caused by beholding his wondrous apparition in the air; but, on the other hand, he saved a man's life, for a jury brought in a verdict of Not guilty on a notorious highwayman, that they might rush out of court to witness the balloon. When Lunardi arose, a cabinet council was engaged on most important state deliberations; but the king said: 'My lords, we shall have an opportunity of discussing this question at another time, but we may never again see poor Lunardi; so let us adjourn the council, and observe the balloon!'"Ignorance, combined with vanity, led Lunardi into some strange assertions. He professed to be able to lower his balloon, at pleasure, by using a kind of oar. When he subsequently ascended at Edinburgh, he affirmed that, at the height of 1100 feet, he saw the city of Glasgow, and also the town of Paisley, which are, at least, forty miles distant, with a hilly country between. The following paragraph from the General Advertiser of September 24, 1784, has a sly reference to these and the like allegations.  "'As several of our correspondents seem to disbelieve that part of Mr. Lunardi's tale, wherein be states that he saw the neck of a quart bottle four miles' distance, all we can inform them on the subject is, that Mr. Lunardi was above lying.' "Lunardi's success was, in all probability, due to the suggestions of another, rather than to his own scientific acquirements. His original intention was to have used a Montgolfier or fire balloon, the inherent perils of which would almost imperatively forbid a successful result. But the celebrated chemist, Dr. George Fordyce, informed him of the buoyant nature of hydrogen gas, with the mode of its manufacture; and to this information Lunardi's successful ascents may be attributed. Three days before Lunardi ascended, Mr. Sadler made an ineffectual attempt at Shotover Hill, near Oxford, but was defeated, by using a balloon on the Montgolfier principle."It is generally supposed that Lunardi was the first person who ascended by means of a balloon in Great Britain, but he certainly was not. A very poor man, named James Tytler, who then lived in Edinburgh, supporting himself and family in the humblest style of garret or cottage life by the exercise of his pen, had this honour. He had effected an ascent at Edinburgh on the 27th of August 1784, just nineteen days previous to Lunardi. Tytler's ascent, however, was almost a failure, by his employing the dangerous and unmanageable Montgolfier principle. After several ineffectual attempts, Tytler, finding that he could not carry up his fire-stove with him, determined, in the maddening desperation of disappointment, to go without this his sole sustaining power. Jumping into his car, which was no other than a common crate used for packing earthenware, he and the balloon ascended fro[...]

Sep 10, Feast day of Asclepigenia


Feast day of AsclepigeniaAsclepigenia (flourished 430 - 485 CE), a priestess of the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries and philosopher of the Neo-Platonist school, is commemorated today. Asclepigenia lived in 5th-Century Athens, daughter of Plutarch the Younger who ran the neo-platonic school there till he died in 430, when she, her brother Hiero and a colleague inherited its management. The school's philosophy was Syncretic, merging Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies. Asclepigenia's interests were in the esoteric principles of metaphysics that control the universe. She applied magic and theurgic principles to affect fate, applying her knowledge of Plato and Aristotle to the great religious and metaphysical questions raised by Christian ethical theory. She believed that there were five realms of reality, namely: the One, Intelligence, Matter, Soul, and Nature. We do not know her work from original sources but from references and influences in those of her pupils. Believing that fates might be affected by the means of metaphysics, cosmology, magic, and theurgy, Asclepigenia tended more toward mysticism, magic, and contemplation of the mysteries of Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics. Her most famous student was the philosopher, Proclus (February 8, 412 - April 17, 487). According to Nigel Pennick (The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992), if the weather is good today it will continue for another 40 days. Asclepius                                                           Asclepigenia was named for Asclepius (Aesculapius; Asklepios; Asklepius), the son of Apollo by Coronis (or Arsinoe), the celebrated physician/deity who had been so successful at preventing mortal death that he was accused of encroaching on the preserve of Hades. As a consequence of his bad behaviour, Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt, and in revenge, Apollo killed the first generation of Cyclopes (the children of Uranus and Gaia) who had forged the thunderbolt. Zeus placed Asclepius in the sky as the constellation Ophiuchus ('serpent-bearer').(More on Asclepius.)... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

Ket's Rebellion


1549Today marks one of the days in history on which were forged some of the human rights enjoyed by a proportion of people in the world. Regrettably, though, today we remember a bloody defeat rather than a victory for those who bravely asserted their liberties.On this day, the Norfolk Rising (or Commotion), otherwise known as Ket's Rebellion, came to an end when the overwhelming military power of the Earl of Warwick (John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland) crushed Robert Ket's rebels.On July 20, at Mousehold, England, a herald of the king had been turned away, his message of conciliation – or, demand for compliance – from the monarch to some 20,000 rural insurrectionists rejected. The herald had promised the king's pardon to all who would depart quietly to their homes. The rebellion of farmers and farm workers was aimed at bringing attention to the economic problems faced by agricultural workers in East Anglia. Like the Diggers(founded exactly one century later, in 1649 by Gerrard Winstanley) and even the rather more conservative Levellers, the rebels demanded the abolition of land enclosures, the end of private ownership of land, and the dismissal of counsellors. A commonwealth was established on Mousehold Heath. The 'commotion' was led by Robert Ket (or Kett), a fairly prosperous tanner and landowner (he held the manor of Wymondham in Norfolk), who with his followers occupied the city of Norwich, but were defeated on August 25 by Warwick's superior firepower. The rebels had met daily under 'the Oak of Reformation', upon which many of them were later hanged. Land and Freedom Pages    Wikipedia on the Diggers Wikipedia on the Levellers    Modern Diggers    Gerrard Winstanley and Diggers ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

The Roswell UFO


1947 The town of Roswell, New Mexico, USA, was launchedinto a new form of economic sustenance – UFOtourism, and I don't mean aliens – when a rancher named William 'Mac' Brazel, near Corona in the same state, heard a loudcrash. Brazel informed Sheriff George Wilcox, who reported it to Intelligence Officer, Major Jesse Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell. On July 7,military personnel including Major Jesse Marcel (pictured at right) arrived at the area, retrieved the wreckage, and transported it to Roswell ArmyAirfieldwhence it was later flown to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Initial Air Force press releases (issued by Lt. Walter G Haut, Public Information Officer at RAAB under order from the Commander of the 509th Bomb Group, Col. William Blanchard) reported the recovery of a "flying disk", "hexagonal in shape". However, this story was rapidly changed to say that the crash was in fact a weather balloon, which it probably was, although some ufologists have argued an alien craft crashed near Roswell. It is also said that an alien body was found at the crash site, and then moved by military to the infamous Area 51 in Nevada. There is now evidence that the 'UFO' was in fact part of Project Mogul, a top secret project involving high-altitude balloons carrying low-frequency microphones and radarcorner reflectors, designed to detect possible Soviet atomic bombexplosions and forewarn of an atomic attack on the United States of America. To skeptics, the Roswell incident is a classic example of what DH Rawcliffe called retrospective falsification. More    And more    Skeptic Dictionary on Roswell    Skeptoid on Roswell ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 22: Dragon Boat Festival, China


Dragon Boat Festival, China"China: Duan Wu Jie or Tuen Ng, the Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month, considered 'evil' and unlucky in Asian culture. In Asian culture, dragons are used to scare away the evil associated with this unlucky date. The festival may have originated to counter this taboo, but it also commemorates the ill-fated rescue attempt of China's favorite patriotic poet, Chu Yuan, who had been exiled by the Emperor Huai from his beloved Chu state during the Warring States period. As the Chu State declined, it was conquered by the powerful Qin State, and the poet was so overcome with despair that he took a large stone into the Miluo River and drowned himself on this day (ca. 277 BC). Unable to save him, the people threw bamboo and mugwort leaves stuffed with cooked rice into the water so that the shrimp, crabs, and other scavenging fish would spare the body of their hero. To commemorate this, people toss sacrifices of rice into the water and eat tzungtzu (zongzi), rice dumplings filled with ham or bean paste and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The boat races on this day attract large crowds. The boats are large canoes, usually highly decorated, with carved dragon heads and tails. The actual date of the festival, now observed around the world, not only varies with the lunar calendar, but may also vary with the location."Source: Earth, Moon and SkyPictured: A boy plays a traditional egg-standing game in Taipei, Taiwan, June 22, 2004. The traditional game is part of the Dragon Boat Festival activities. Legend has it that at noon on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, it is possible to stand eggs on end. Whoever can do this is said to be assured of good luck all year. [Reuters]When east meets west in Dragon Boat Festival in Hong KongDragon Boat Festival: Past and PresentIt's Dragon Boat Festival!Dragon Boat Festival activities expanded... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 21, Cancer begins


(Much more at

(Jun 21 - Jul 22)
In astronomy and astrology, Cancer, the crab, is one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac (thirteen, if you count Ophiuchus). Cancer is small and dim, and to many it does not resemble a crab. It lies between Gemini to the west and Leo to the east, Lynx to the north and Canis Minor and Hydra to the south.
In Greek mythology, Cancer was a brave little crab who tried to stop Heracles from defeating the Lernaean Hydra and was squashed for his efforts.
The astrological sign Cancer (June 21 - July 22) is associated with the constellation. In some cosmologies, Cancer is associated with the classical element Water, and thus called a Water Sign (with Scorpio and Pisces). Its polar opposite is Capricorn.
In the 1970s there was a proposal to rename the zodiac sign, as some astrologers felt that an imagined association with the disease Cancer was off-putting. Some people with the sun sign of Cancer refer to themselves as moon children instead (the sign is associated with the Moon in astrology).
Astrology    The Real Constellations of the Zodiac    Astrology: Pro    Astrology: Con

Today's World Refugee Day


World Refugee Day On June 20, thanks to that magnificent organization, UNHCR, we salute the indomitable spirit and courage of the world's refugees, giving them the encouragement, support and respect they deserve.Every refugee story is different, every loss is a personal one. But around the world different crises affect different groups. Some conflicts are almost resolved. Others are new, with fresh refugee problems. And still others are shadowy, long-running guerrilla wars whose victims are often the ordinary people the revolutionaries claim to represent.Under international law, a refugee is a person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution. They are subgroup of the broader category of displaced persons. They are distinguished from economic migrants who have voluntarily left their country of origin for economic reasons, and from internally displaced persons who have not crossed an international border. Those who seek refugee status are sometimes known as asylum seekers and the practice of accepting such refugees is that of offering political asylum. The most common asylum claims are based upon political and religious grounds. Refugees often make some of the best immigrants to a nation because they are the people of strong character from the countries in which they were repressed, and the more resourceful ones who are able to flee and survive their escape. These qualities stand for so much more than how much money they have in their bank accounts.... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 19 at Wilson's Almanac: Salman Rushdie


1947 Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (Kashmiri: अहमद सलमान रुशदी (Devanagari), احمد سلمان رشدی (Nastaleeq); play /sælˈmɑːn ˈrʊʃdi'), British Indian novelist and essayist. His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981.

Much of Rushdie's fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism mixed with historical fiction, and a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western worlds.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy, drawing protests from Muslims in several countries. Some of the protests were violent, in which death threats were issued to Rushdie, including a fatwā against him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14, 1989.

In June 2007, Rushdie was appointed by Queen Elizabeth a Knight Bachelor for "services to literature". He holds the rank Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France. He began a five-year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in 2007. In May, 2008 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2008, The Times ranked Rushdie thirteenth on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". At time of writing, January, 2012, his latest novel is Luka and the Fire of Life, published in November last year. In 2010, he announced that he has begun writing his memoirs.

Wow! June the 18th, 1178


1178 About an hour after sunset, according to Gervase of Canterbury (c. 1141 - 1210), the famous medieval chronicler, a band of five eyewitnesses (Canterbury monks) watched as the upper horn of the bright, new crescent moon "suddenly split in two. From the midpoint of this division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out … fire, hot coals and sparks … The body of the moon, which was below writhed … throbbed like a wounded snake". The phenomenon recurred another dozen times or more, the witnesses reported.A long-held belief has it that a meteor collision witnessed by these 12th-Century Englishmen resulted in a violent explosion on the moon, so creating the moon's Giordano Bruno crater, named after the 16th-Century astronomer burned at the stake for heresy in 1600. However, this notion doesn't hold up under scientific scrutiny, according to Paul Withers of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "I think they happened to be at the right place at the right time to look up in the sky and see a meteor that was directly in front of the moon, coming straight towards them," Withers said.  Read on Gervase also recorded the transit of Mars across Jupiter on September 12, 1170 Listen to this story (requires RealPlayer)   More ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 17, Fisher's Ghost


Fisher's Ghost
1826 Frederick Fisher becomes Fisher's Ghost.
Frederick Fisher, a landholder in Campbelltown, NSW, Australia, was murdered by George Worrell, an employee, and his body was thrown into a local creek. The police arrested Worrell, who insisted that Fisher was alive and living elsewhere under an assumed name. It is said that a ghost, looking like the murder victim, appeared on the bridge over the creek close to the spot where Fisher's body lay, and pointed directly at that spot when the authorities passed over the bridge. On the eve of his execution, Worrell confessed his terrible deed.

Ever since, that creek has been named Fisher's Ghost Creek, and an annual festival called the Fisher's Ghost Festival is commemorated.

Uncle Horrie's yarn about Fisher's Ghost at the Scriptorium

Geronimo's birth date


1829 Geronimo (d. February 17, 1909), or Goyathlay ('one who yawns'), Apache warrior and leader. Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States of America for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. Allegedly, 'Geronimo' was the name given to him during a Mexican incident. His Chiricahua name is often rendered as Goyathlay, or, in English, Goyahkla. After an attack by a company of Mexican soldiers killed many members of his family in 1858, Geronimo joined revenge attacks on the Mexicans. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. In 1886, Geronimo was eventually tracked down by U.S. authorities and surrendered. As a prisoner of war in old age he became a celebrity and appeared in fairs but was never allowed to return to the land of his birth. He later regretted his surrender and claimed the conditions he made had been ignored. Geronimo died in 1909 after being thrown from his horse ... (More at Wilson's Almanac.)... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 15, the Feast day of Saint Vitus et al


Feast day of Ss Vitus (Guy), Crescentia, and Modestus, martyrs (Sensitive plant, Mimosa sensit, is today's plant, dedicated to Vitus.) Martyred during the Diocletian persecution, St Vitus was a Sicilian youth. He was killed with his tutor, Modestus, and his nurse, Crescentia, in about 303. He was converted in Sicily as a boy by his nurse, and fled his father's wrath to Italy, where he was martyred under the reign of Diocletian. According to the legend, his father was angry that his son had been converted to Christianity by his nurse and her husband, so Dad turned him over to the authorities. While Vitus was in prison, angels performed a dance for him, so he is the patron saint of dancers, actors, comedians and mummers, and those inflicted with fit-producing diseases like epilepsy and chorea (also known as 'St Vitus Dance').His emblem is a cock or a dog, and he is patron of dogs. In art, he is shown as a boy with a rooster and a cauldron, or with Modestus and Crescentia as they refuse to worship idols. He may be shown being put into an oven; with a palm and cauldron; with a palm and dog; with a chalice and dog; with sword and dog; with a sword and rooster; with a book and rooster; with a wolf or lion; or as a young prince with a palm and sceptre (Roeder, source). Somehow a chapel near Ulm was dedicated to him, and to this chapel annually came women who were ill with a nervous or hysterical affliction. This came to be called St Vitus's Dance. Perhaps this term was extended to other similar muscular disorders. After St Vitus and his companions were martyred, and their heads enclosed in a church wall, they were forgotten. Years later in renovations, the heads were discovered, and the bells started tolling of themselves. The heads caused miracles to occur. Or, so it is said. In pre-Reformation times in England, chickens were sacrificed on this day to avert the disease. On this day, like St Swithin's, if it rains it will rain for many more days. Vitus Diena was held in medieval Latvia to commemorate the last day of planting. Rain on this day signified a bountiful crop, as well as the first appearances of bees and flies. His patronage also includes, against animal attacks, against dog bites, against lightning, against storms, against wild beasts, dog bites, lightning, Saint Vitus's Dance, snake bites and storms. St Vitus's Dance In the 17th Century in Germany it was believed that good health could be assured by dancing in front of a statue of the saint on his feast day. Such dancing to excess is said to have come to be confused with chorea, hence its name, St Vitus's Dance, for the saint is invoked against it.Midsummer dancing madness Originally pagan celebrations were held at around this time, with wild dancing. The day on which the dancing was centred was christianized as the Feast of St John the Baptist, patron of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), and German people thronged there on his day, June 24, for the dancing. In 1374 the Rhine flooded and the dancing of the peasants, whose lives were sorely afflicted beyond their normal poverty, went wild. The 'dancing madness' became[...]



As sick as a dog? Make that two dogs. I haven't been feeling at all well for a couple of days ('something I ate', it seems), and spent the time as an inpatient in Bellingen Hospital. I'd forgotten to take my spectacles with me, and was quite blind finding my way around.

I feel quite well and happy now, but was advised by the doctors and nurses to take it easy for a day or two, so, with any luck, and I'm a lucky bloke, I intend to return to Wilson's Almanac, Facebook, the Blogmanac, etc, tomorrow, June 15. See you then - with my specs, I trust.


June 13, the death by drowning of King Ludwig II


1886 The death by drowning of King Ludwig II, King of Bavaria ('the Swan King'; 'the Mad King'; b. 1845). Ludwig, who had a history of mental disorders, and a long struggle with his homosexuality – and was a good swimmer – drowned in waist-deep water with his physician in Lake Starnberg, near Munich, Austria.Ludwig was both friend and enemy of the composer Richard Wagner, whom he banished from Bavaria.  Shown is Ludwig's fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, a dramatic Romanesque fortress with Byzantineand Gothicinteriors. Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland was largely modelled on this magical edifice. He actually built three castles, Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee, all at stupendous expense.  Falkenstein was a planned, but never executed "robber baron's castle". A painting by Christian Jank shows the proposed building as an even more fairytale version of Neuschwanstein, perched on a rocky cliff. It seems that as Ludwig was increasingly cut off from reality, and as his family fortune ran dry, he conceived a plan to rob banks to fund his absolutist dream. The 1972 movie Ludwig, directed by Luchino Visconti was based on his life. "As their copious correspondence shows, Ludwig and Wagner became very close, if stormy, friends until the famous composer's death. On several occasions Wagner was the beneficiary of Ludwig's patronage and support, but the relationship had its highs and lows. Ludwig was attracted to Wagner's music and talents, but the composer's libertine, independent ways put strains on the friendship between the two. Though the naive Ludwig long refused to believe the rumors of Wagner's daliances [sic] with Cosima von Bülow (the wife of Wagner's concertmaster, and the illegitimate daughter of Franz Liszt), in December 1865 Ludwig was compelled to banish Wagner from Bavaria."   Source   Neuschwanstein Castle webcam    More on the castle    More   More ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

On June 12, 1929, the brave girl Anne Frank was born


1929 Anne Frank (d. early March, 1945), Dutch Jewish girl who wrote a diary while in hiding with her family and four friends in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II Anne Frank at ABC Radio... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 9, 1838, was a very bad day at Myall Creek


1838 Myall Creek Massacre, Australia Illustration published in The Chronicles of Crime, 1841   Source Bad day at Myall CreekOn Saturday, June 9, 1838 (some sources say June 10), twelve European stockmen rounded up approximately 28 of about forty Kwiambal people squatting at Henry Dangar's station at Myall Creek (a branch of the Gwydir River, near Bingara, NSW), and killed them with knives and guns. Later they killed another three. The stockmen, who had accused the Aboriginal people of pilfering, were acquitted at a trial on November 15, but faced trial again on November 26 and were found guilty (see court transcript). Seven of the twelve murderers were executed under Governor Sir George Gipps's authority. Massacre at Myall Creek    The Myall Creek Massacre, 1838 Indigenous Portal    Koori World Online    More    More    And more    Yet moreMyall Creek Massacre Memorial    Vandals deface Australia's Myall Creek memorial... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

The first transit of Venus since 1882 (it was too cloudy here his week in Bellingen to see it, but I tried a few times).


NASA images of the Transit of Venus, 20042004 The first transit of Venus since 1882; the next one occurred on June 6, 2012. See also June 6, 1760 and June 3, 1769.   "John Philip Sousa (1854 - 1932) was very interested in the 1882 transit of Venus. In 1882 - 3 he wrote his 'Venus Transit March'. He didn't write it specifically to commemorate the transit itself, but wrote it to honor the great American physicist Prof. Joseph Henry who had died on May 13, 1878. "The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. asked Sousa to write this march for the planned unveiling of the statue of Henry in front of the Smithsonian Institution in 1883. The music was to be played while dignitaries solomly [sic] walked from the museum to a special receiving stand in front of the Smithsonian. Sousa's Transit of Venus March remains a delightful, and rarely-played addition to Sousa's opus of compositions. "Sousa's Transit of Venus March remains a delightful, and rarely-played addition to Sousa's very famous and much loved opus of compositions. If you would like to view the cover page of the 1889 sheet music, play the march on your piano, or listen to two versions of it, see below: Transit of Venus cover page Transit of Venus piano score Page 1 Transit of Venus piano score Page 2 Transit of Venus piano score Page 3"   SourceHistory of Venus transits   Venus Transit: Cycles of the Heart    Viewing Venus in broad daylightJames Cook and the transit of Venus    More    More ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

July 7: Mumtaz. a remarkable woman; Gaddaf


1631[Sources differ as to date.] While on a campaign with her husband (Shah Jahan, Mughal Emperor of India), Mumtaz Mahal (born Arjumand Banu Begam), died. The Taj Mahal, described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as "a tear on the face of eternity", is often said to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and is her tomb. The grand Taj Mahal stands as a monument to the love of a man for a woman.As she lay on her deathbed, it is said that Mumtaz whispered to Jahan a dying wish for him to build a monument that would express the beauty of their love for each other. Stricken with grief, Shah Jahan remained indoors for a week; when he emerged his hair had turned white, his back was now bent, and his face lined with despair. He ordered his entire kingdom into mourning for the next two years, and it is said he was inconsolable to the point of contemplating abdication in favour of his sons.Some believe the great building was designed by Geronimo Verroneo, an Italian in service to the Mughal (Moghul) Empire, and certainly many European craftsmen were among the 20,000 workers who worked on the tomb, bringing with them Renaissance skill and vision – not that the Moghul culture was lacking in either skill or vision. Craftsmen from as far as Turkey came to join in the work ... Read on at the Mumtaz Mahal page at the Scriptorium  1942 Muammar Gaddafi, ruler of Libya since a military coup on September 1, 1969, when he overthrew King Idris, establishing the Libyan Arab Republic. His 42 years in power make him one of the longest-serving rulers in history. Gaddafi renamed the Libyan Arab Republic to Jamahiriya in 1977, based on his socialist and nationalist political philosophy published in The Green Book. In 1979, he relinquished the title of prime minister, and was thereafter called "The Brother Leader" or "The Guide" in Libya's Socialist Revolution. Somewhere, I believe there's one of me in April, 1987 when I was a Sydney magazine editor, with Gaddafi standing behind, from a curious visit I had for six days or so at the request and payment by the Jamahiriya so I find these Images of Gaddafi of "Ower Lidder", or Our Lidder, as his name sounded when often chanted by citizens led by Secret Service men (or the Libyan equivalent) very interesting. I also find it particularly interesting that Gaddafi's house has been bombed, because on the first anniversary of the US bombing of Gaddafi's private home, I toured through it (and surreptitiously took Gaddafi's large brass ashtray, and gave it to an old friend of mine in Australia. The ashtray is still there in Red Hill, Canberra, and I fully intend to have it engraved one day soon. I still have very many Libyan publications downstairs, and I think even one copy of 'The Green Book'. Maybe I'll put more of this in my Memoirs. I'm working quite a bit on those, as well as Microminibliss and other web pages that can quite easily be found around Wilson's Almanac (... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

Transit of Venus today


NASA image of the Transit of Venus, 2004June 6, 2012 Transit of Venus (across the Sun). This takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and the Earth, obscuring a small part of the Sun's disc. During a transit, Venus can be seen from the Earth as a small black disc moving across the face of the Sun.More in the Wilson's Almanac Book of Days... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 5, Atlantis, and Ignatius Donnelly


Atlantis map from a work by Athanasius Kircher Atlantis8498 BCE Today is a traditionaldate of the naturalcalamity which destroyedthe supposedancientcivilisation of Atlantis.Onewonderswhat the origin is of the humanlove of the unlikely, the irrational, bizarre and preposterous, but no amount of wonder will solve the puzzle. The chance that an advanced civilisation liesbeneath the ocean, undetected by 21st-Centuryoceanography, satelliteimaging, geology and any number of modernscientificaids, is slimindeed, but here we have a persistentlegend which is probablybelieved by morepeopletoday than in the Middle Ages. I confess to having my ownimp of fascination for manythings to which I give no credence whatsoever. A hobgoblin, a tale from the crypt, a UFO or two can brighten the dreariest evening. Atlantis, or so it is said, was a huge island lying beyond the Pillars of Hercules (now known as the Straits of Gibraltar) and its culture had dominated the Mediterranean nine thousand years before Solon, the lawmaker of Athens. From its ideal condition as an advanced culture, it deteriorated into a military aggressor, so the gods resolved to punish the civilisation. We have this on authority of Plato in his Timaeus and Critias(c. 350 BCE). He learned the story from his cousin, who got it from his grandfather, who heard it from his father, who got it from Solon himself, who heard it from the priests of Sais in Egypt in 590 BCE ...Read on at the Atlantis page at the Scriptorium Donovan singing 'Atlantis' Ignatius DonnellyAs an interesting sidelight, one of the most prominent 19th-century Atlantist authors (he made his fortune with Atlantis: the Antediluvian World) was Ignatius Donnelly (born Philadelphia, November 3, 1831), pictured, an idiosyncratic and somewhat quixotic American Congressman whose writings, particularly the utopian sci-fi novel, Cæsar's Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century, profoundly influenced the working class in pre-federation Australia. Perhaps ironically, he died in Minneapolis on January 1, 1901 (precisely 100 years before this Almanac was founded) on the first day of the century, the very day that Australia's federation took effect. Donnelly is perhaps better known for his The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon's Cipher in Shakespeare's Plays about an alleged code in Shakespeare's work that reveals that Francis Bacon wrote much of Shakespeare's work.  Ignatius Donnelly and the End of the World Atlantis in Myths and Religion Theories about Atlantis More    And more  Lawson & Co: associations with Henry and Louisa Lawson ... Friends of Wilson's Almanac, please visit[...]

June 4, the Tiananmen Square Massacre


How to do the Tank Man Tango    More toons at Live From Wilson's Almanac 1989 Tiananmen Square protests (Tiananmen Square Massacre): As many as 2,600 people were killed and 10,000 injured in TiananmenSquare, Beijing, China, when the ChineseCommunistgovernmentcracked down on pro-democracyprotesters, coveredlive on TVworldwide. I remember it as well as if it wereyesterday, from afar in time. I wasdining with my parents and siblingsaboveSydney at the Summit Restaurant (quite cheap in those days), for my mum's birthdaydinner, and the news came through on a radio that it was happening. Most of us in the family have a particular interest in Marxism-Leninism, so wealltookspecialnotice. It's been contended that the massacre actuallyhappenedoutside the square ('The Myth of Tiananmen And the Price of a Passive Press', by Jay Mathews, Columbia Journalism Review). There are Tienanmen Massacre deniers, just as there are Holocaust deniers -- see Spinning the Battle for Beijing. "In China hundreds – possibly thousands – of people died as Chinese army troops stormed Beijing to crush the pro-democracy movement. A surge in imports and loose money supplied fuel for a potent mix of corruption and double-digit inflation. Hundreds of thousands of discontented Chinese took to the streets of Beijing, demanding more reform – but the military crushed the protests in the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Zhao Ziyang was ousted. The West and Japan cut off aid. Bao Tong was the only Communist Party official arrested in the Tianamen Square uprising. He was released with ill-health in 1996. Han Dongfang, leader of China's first independent trade union spent 22 months behind bars for his role in the pro-democracy uprising. Ren Wanding was also again jailed for giving speeches in the pro-democracy protests."    Source Statue of the Goddess of Democracy "Students from the Central College of Fine Arts are credited with creating the goddess statue, that was destined to stand only five days in Beijing, at which point it was run over by a tank from the People's Liberation Army as the army retook Tiananmen Square while killing 3,000 civilians in the infamous 'June 4' massacre."   Source   Tank Man documentary on Google Video Sequence of events at Tiananmen Square June 4 1:00 a.m. a second group of tanks appears at Tiananmen Square. Demonstrators jump on the tanks and throw stones and Molotov cocktails. 2:00 a.m. Tiananmen Square is totally surrounded by tanks. Automatic rifles start shooting, killing people on the square. The students' loudspeakers claim 50 deaths. 3:00 a.m. the official loudspeakers shout: "Beijing is victim of a counter-revolutionary insurrection." All the tanks target the 5,000 students remaining around the Monument to the People's Heroes. 4:00 a.m. the lights on the square turn off and official loudspeakers call on the students to return to campuses. 5:00 a.m. several thousand students and supporters exit the square, leaving behind a group of hard core protesters, mostly workers, who refuse to leave and decide to stay on as martyrs. 6:00 a.m. a tank kills seven more students. Throughout the afternoon more reports come i[...]