" Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them. "
Agatha Christie

Back in the day


Ronald DeFeo, Jr., Murders Family in Amityville, NY

After the DeFeo family was discovered murdered in their beds, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., the family's only surviving member, was placed under police protection. Investigators initially believed a mob hit man had committed the crime, but DeFeo soon confessed and was convicted of murdering his parents and four siblings. A number of controversies surround the case, especially regarding the possible involvement of DeFeo's sister Dawn. What best-selling novel and series of films did these events inspire?



The Carnival of Basel

At precisely 4 AM on the Monday after Ash Wednesday, all of the lights in the town of Basel, Switzerland, are turned off, and the city is lit only by decorative lanterns that are carried or worn on the heads of those gathered for the start of Basler Fasnacht—the Carnival of Basel. For the next 72 hours, thousands of costumed revelers, or Fasnächtlers, enjoy the parades and music of Switzerland's biggest carnival. Why is the use of multicolored confetti frowned upon at the carnival?

Born on a day like today


Edward III of England

Edward III, crowned at age 14, was one of the most successful English monarchs of the Middle Ages. His long reign saw the ravages of the Black Death as well as vital developments in legislature and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament. In 1337, Edward laid claim to the French crown, provoking the conflict that would come to be known as the Hundred Years' War. How long did the hostilities actually last?

Last updated on Friday, 13th November 2009

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