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Madness in 14th-century France
Ball of the Burning Men (1393)

[Wiklpedia]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bal_des_Ardents

The Bal des Ardents (Ball of the Burning Men) or Bal des Sauvages was a masquerade ball held on 28 January 1393 in Paris at which Charles VI of France performed in a dance with five members of the French nobility. Four of the dancers were killed in a fire caused by a torch brought in by a spectator, Charles' brother Louis, Duke of Orleans. King Charles and the remaining dancer, the noble knight Ogier de Nantouillet, survived. The ball was one of a number of events intended to entertain the young king, who the previous summer had suffered an attack of insanity.

In the pic:
Le bal des Ardents.
Froissart's Chronicles , c. 1470 - 1475

The Duchess of Berry holds her blue skirts over a barely visible Charles VI of France as the dancers tear at their burning costumes. One dancer has leapt into the wine vat; in the gallery above, musicians continue to play.
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In a nutshell: Transportation to Australia
More than 160,000 convicts were exiled to jails and harsh colonies on the far side of the world – some for crimes as trivial as stealing beans
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Phrenology (cranioscopy)
"Phrenology is the study of the structure of the skull to determine a person's character and mental capacity."
"This pseudoscience is based on the false assumption that mental faculties are located in brain "organs" on the surface of the brain and can be detected by visible inspection of the skull. The Viennese physician Franz-Joseph Gall (1758-1828) claimed there are some 26 "organs" on the surface of the brain which affect the contour of the skull, including a "murder organ" present in murderers. Gall was an advocate of the "use it or lose it" school of thought. Brain organs which were used got bigger and those which were not used shrunk, causing the skull to rise and fall with organ development. These bumps and indentations on the skull, according to Gall, reflect specific areas of the brain that determine a person's emotional and intellectual functions."
"Although phrenology has been thoroughly discredited and has been recognized as having no scientific merit, it still has its advocates. It remained popular, especially in the United States, throughout the 19th century and it gave rise to several other pseudoscientific characterologies, e.g., craniometry and anthropometry."
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The London Garrotting Panic of the Mid-19th Century
"Although crime in England’s capital was on the decline in the mid-19th century, thanks in part to the relatively recent formation of the London Metropolitan Police Force in 1839, fear of crime was a persistent, reoccurring issue thanks to a few instances of robbery and murder, and, of course, the news media. In particular, the so-called “garrotting” cases, where someone strangles someone else, often using their arm or a length of wire, cord, or cloth, seemed to touch the rawest nerve with the people of London, with the fear of garrotting reaching a fever-pitch in the 1860s."
"By far the most ridiculous by-product of the panic were the devices invented to dissuaded potential garrotters. Various designs of hulking neck-collars with large spikes were patented. A cravat with a blade sewn into the hem (meant to either cut the attacker’s arm or the device he was using to strangle you) was also a thing."
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Another royal arshole
8 things you (probably) didn’t know about Richard the Lionheart (1157 - 1199)
Richard I went down in legend and history books as a kind king and a great warrior. In reality, he taxed his countrymen to the hilt, got himself captured, and taxed them again to pay his ransom.
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Peter Stumpf, the Werewolf of Bedburg (16th century Germany)
"Depending on who you want to believe, Peter Stumpf was either a severely deranged individual with an undiagnosed mental illness, a victim of the fight between Catholics and Protestants, or a werewolf acting under the command of Satan himself."
"What we do know about Stumpf is that he was a farmer in the small German town of Bedburg in the late 16th century. Stumpf was ultimately arrested in 1589 following a purported string of brutal deaths throughout Bedburg, originally thought to have resulted from wolf attacks."
"Stumpf became suspect number one after reportedly being caught red handed by a band of hunters tracking a large wolf, only to come across Stumpf instead, at which point they purportedly witnessed him transforming from wolf to man before their astonished eyes."
"Stumpf maintained that he’d used the belt over the years to turn into a lycanthrope. While making use of this unfathomable power, Stumpf claimed that he was overcome with an intense urge to consume blood and flesh. An urge he managed to sate for many years by killing sheep and new born lambs, often with his teeth, and drinking their still warm blood.  Stumpf claimed that sometime later he then moved on to murdering and consuming human victims."
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How much did Alaska cost?
"While Alaska is widely known today as the largest state in the USA, it was once part of Russia. For around a hundred years from the mid 18th century onwards, Alaska was a Russian colony but, after a handsome price was negotiated in 1867, it became US territory and eventually became the 49th state of the USA."
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The truth and myth behind animal trials in the Middle Ages
"The most detailed source of case studies (whether real or imagined) we have for the medieval (roughly between the 13th and 16th century) practice of putting animals on trial is E.P. Evans’ treatise on the subject, The Criminal Prosecution and Capitol Punishment of Animals, published in 1906. Evans points out two distinct types of animal trials that would occur:

[There is] a sharp line of technical distinction between Thierstrafen and Thierprocesse; the former were capital punishments inflicted by secular tribunals upon pigs, cows, horses, and other domestic animals as a penalty for homicide; the latter were judicial proceedings instituted by ecclesiastical courts against rats, mice, locusts, weevils, and other vermin in order to prevent them from devouring the crops, and to expel them from orchards, vineyards, and cultivated fields by means of exorcism and excommunication.

In other words, most large animals were tried for offenses such as murder, and generally executed or exiled, while smaller, more diffuse pests and offenders were more often excommunicated or denounced by a church tribunal. But all were thought to have been given their day in court.
[...]
As barbaric, strange, or just silly as animal trials may seem, they continue well into the modern day. In 1916 an elephant named Mary murdered her trainer and was hanged in Tennessee using a crane. In 2008, in Macedonia, a bear was convicted of stealing honey from a beekeeper. The parks service was forced to pay $3,500 in damages. It seems like the human thirst for justice, no matter how irrational or silly, continues to know no bounds."
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The self castration of Origen, father of the Christian church
Alexandrian church father Origen (AD 185 - 254) in front of a constellation map. He has just castrated himself.

[Wikipedia]
Eusebius reported that Origen, following Matthew 19:12 literally, castrated himself. This story was accepted during the Middle Ages and was cited by Peter Abelard in his letters to Heloise.Edward Gibbon, in his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, also accepts this story as true. During the past century, scholars have often questioned this, surmising that this may have been a rumor circulated by his detractors. Henry Chadwick points out that, while the story may be true, it seems unlikely, given that Origen's exposition of Matthew 19:12 "strongly deplored any literal interpretation of the words". However, many noted historians, such as Peter Brown and William Placher, continue to find no reason to deny the truth of Eusebius' claims.
(Illustration from the manuscript: The Hague, MMW, 10 A 11 f. 305r. Augustine, La Cité de Dieu (Vol. I). Translation from the Latin by Raoul de Presles. Paris, Maïtre François (illuminator); c. 1475; 1478-1480.

Two links to Origin Adamantius, who according to Eusebius (AD 265 - 239) did actually cut his thingies off:

Origen of Alexandria

http://www.iep.utm.edu/origen-of-alexandria/

http://www.dacb.org/stories/egypt/origen_.html

"Origen was an innovator in an era when innovation, for Christians, was a luxury ill-afforded. He drew upon pagan philosophy in an effort to elucidate the Christian faith in a manner acceptable to intellectuals, and he succeeded in converting many gifted pagan students of philosophy to his faith. He was also a great humanist, who believed that all creatures will eventually achieve salvation, including the devil himself."
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18th and 21st Amendments
USA amended an Amendment with another Amendment. Like the war on drugs, alcohol prohibition was an incentive for crime, injustice, mass incarceration, and a lot of social damage.

Did you know it wasn't illegal to drink during Prohibition?
"By the late 1800s, prohibition movements had sprung up across the United States, driven by religious groups who considered alcohol, specifically drunkenness, a threat to the nation. The movement reached its apex in 1920 when Congress ratified the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. Prohibition proved difficult to enforce and failed to have the intended effect of eliminating crime and other social problems–to the contrary, it led to a rise in organized crime, as the bootlegging of alcohol became an ever-more lucrative operation. In 1933, widespread public disillusionment led Congress to ratify the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition."
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