" Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Back in the day


General Tom Thumb Marries Lavinia Warren

General Tom Thumb, born Charles Sherwood Stratton, began touring with circus pioneer P.T. Barnum in 1843 at the tender age of five. Stratton's short stature—he was a mere 3 feet, 4 inches (102 cm) tall when he died—and his comedic impersonations quickly made him an international success. In 1863, Stratton married Lavinia Warren, another performer in Barnum's show. Their marriage was front-page news, and thousands joined them at their wedding reception. What now marks Stratton's grave?



Ghost Rockets

Between May and December 1946, a number of mysterious rocket-shaped objects, termed "Ghost Rockets," were spotted by people in several European countries. These reports are considered by many ufologists to be the first widespread post-WWII sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. Though many of the objects were attributed to meteors, especially those seen during the annual Perseid meteor shower, most were not. What led investigators to conclude that the objects were not merely meteors?

Born on a day like today


Mark Spitz

During the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, Jewish-American swimmer Mark Spitz took home seven gold medals, a feat unequaled by any other athlete in a single Olympiad until 2008. Spitz also set new world records for each of the seven events in which he took the gold. He retired from swimming at the age of 22, but about 20 years later, filmmaker Bud Greenspan offered to pay him one million dollars if he succeeded in qualifying for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. Did Spitz qualify?

Last updated on Tuesday, 10th February 2009

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