Category Archives: People

Was Colonel Sanders Actually a Colonel?

colonel sanders

Rachel M. asks: Was Colonel Sanders really a Colonel? Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. (Incidentally, if you’re curious: Why Colonel is Pronounced “Kernel”) To be named a “Colonel” is to be recognized for “outstanding service to community, state, and nation.” The sitting governor of Kentucky, or the Secretary of State […]

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The Curious Case of Mary Hamilton


In 1746 in Taunton, Somerset, England, Mary Hamilton was imprisoned and whipped for impersonating a man and marrying possibly as many as 14 women (not all at once). Few records of these events have survived; however, that same year Henry Fielding, “barrister, magistrate, founder of the first English detective force, and sometimes called father of the modern novel,” produced a […]

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The Unmasking of Moriarty


Jill T. asks: My dad told me Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes was based on a real person. Is this true and if so, who? Genius and philosopher, with a “brain of the first order,” Professor James Moriarty was the most dangerous criminal Sherlock Holmes ever grappled with. Over the years, several real-life masterminds have been suggested as the inspiration […]

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The Man Who Parkinson’s Disease is Named After Was Implicated in a Plot to Assassinate King George III


Today I found out they named Parkinson’s disease after a man who was involved in an assassination attempt on King George III. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder characterized by tremors or shaking, with this particular symptom of the progressive disease resulting from dopamine generating cell death in a part of the substantia nigra region of the brain . The […]

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Whatever Happened to Ambrose Bierce?


Witty, prickly, bitter and brilliant, for 50 odd years, author and newspaperman Ambrose Bierce eloquently chronicled the latter half of the 19th, and first few years of the 20th, centuries. From moving descriptions of Civil War events, to scathing rebukes of the worst of the Gilded Age, all interspersed with tales of the supernatural, Bierce’s unique voice has left us […]

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The Year’s Free Wages That Resulted in the Novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”


Today I found out about the year’s “free wages” that led to Harper Lee writing To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, which was Lee’s first and only published novel until recently, was heralded as an “instant classic” when it was published in 1960, and it is a staple in high school classrooms today. But it might not exist at all […]

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The Woman Who Survived All Three Disasters Aboard the Sister Ships: the Titanic, Britannic, and Olympic


Today I found out about Violet Jessop, “Miss Unsinkable,” the woman who survived the sinking of the sister ships the Titanic and the Britannic, and was also aboard the third of the trio of Olympic class vessels, the Olympic, when it had a major accident. Violet Jessop enjoyed incredible “luck” from a young age. Born in 1887 in Argentina to […]

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The Modern King Leonidas: Athanasios Diakos


Greece is one of the most historically rich nations, with a culture and civilization that exceeds five thousand years of continuous human activity, producing such notable historical influencers as Alexander the Great, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Homer; it’s no wonder that some other individuals well-known throughout Greece remain unknown to other nations.  One such individual is Athanasios Diakos who is […]

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