Far-Out Friday: Robert Wadlow, Gentle Giant

On February 22, 1918, with war raging across the seas in Europe, Harold and Addie Wadlow of Alton, Illinois welcomed their firstborn child into the world – Robert Pershing Wadlow.  He was a little over eighteen inches long and weighed eight pounds and six ounces – a perfectly normal size and weight for a baby.  Little did his parents know, however, what the future held for their firstborn child as six months later his height had almost doubled, his weight nearly quadrupled. His height and weight steadily increased – by the third grade Robert, towering over all his classmates, was taller than his teacher.  Despite his size, however, he spent what would be considered a normal childhood – playing with friends, running a lemonade stand and joining the Boy Scouts.  The Bloomer Shoe Factory made a special pair of size seventeen shoes for eight year-old Robert. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in...

War-Time Baby Names

Seventy-one years ago the world was on edge as the Allies prepared to storm the beaches of Normandy.  Americans waited anxiously to hear word and many towns and cities across the country made plans to sound sirens when word came the invasion had begun.  California’s war council, however, decided to forego the sirens because, according to Governor Earl Warren, it would “be bad to celebrate until we’ve won something.”1 Woodall Rodgers, Mayor of Dallas, Texas received a letter from the National Noise Abatement Council criticizing plans to sound sirens across the nation because it would create “unnecessary and needless noise.”  Rodgers ignored the criticism and emphasized the city of Dallas would herald the nation’s push into western Europe. Those sirens began to sound in Texas between 2:00 and 2:30 a.m. on the morning of June 6, 1944.  In Houston most retail stores were planning to close and more than four hundred churches opened their doors early that day for twenty-four hours of special prayer for peace and early victory. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr...

Far-Out Friday: Ocular Explosions

In June of 1932 a column appeared in newspapers across the country, entitled “Questions and Answers from Washington”.  Apparently it was a chance for everyday citizens to ask a burning question which was answered by someone in Washington, D.C.  The questions ranged from “How is Italian salami made?” to “Can fleas be trained?” – and everything in between. One question posed was “Can a glass eye explode?”.  The answer: “A glass or porcelain eye might explode due to some chemical change in the material used, but the recorded occurrences are extremely rare.” NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Far-Out Friday: There Once Was a Chicken Without a Head

Seventy years ago this year, about a month after the atom bomb was dropped on Japan, one story grabbed headlines around the country.  That story is still reason for an annual celebration on the third weekend of May in Fruita, Colorado.  He probably didn’t even have a name before all the hoopla which began on September 10, 1945, but afterwards they called him “Mike the Headless Chicken”, although how the rooster came to be called Mike is unclear. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Far-Out Friday: This Might Have Been a Victorian Thing (Get Me Out of Here, I’m Not Dead!)

A friend forwarded a story to me recently from Retro Indy (Indianapolis) about a device invented in the late eighteenth century, which led me to explore a bizarre series of patents granted from the 1840’s through the early twentieth century.  The September 20, 1963 issue of Life magazine suggested that one peculiarity of the nineteenth century, the fear of being buried alive, may have been inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s creepy stories. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Far-Out Friday: Friggatriskaidekaphobia and the Thirteen Club

Do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia (and you say, I don’t even know how to pronounce it, so how could I be afflicted with it!?!).  Maybe not, but it may affect between seventeen and twenty million Americans.  According to the Mayo Clinic, in clinical terms a phobia “is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance.” This particular phobia, as it relates to a certain calendar date, may only be experienced one to three times per year.  This year it will haunt millions of people three times on a Friday – February 13, March 13 and November 13 – and no one seems to know definitively when and where the notion of “Friday the 13th” being an unlucky day, or for that matter the number “13″ being associated with misfortune and bad luck, originated. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket...