Told across the world in many variations, the vanishing hitchhiker story is a popular urban legend whose most common version involves a lone motorist who picks up a hitchhiker. This hitchhiker later vanishes without explanation, often from a moving vehicle. The driver eventually tracks down the hitchhiker's relatives only to learn that the person in question died long ago. In other versions of the legend, the hitchhiker predicts a future disaster. What are some early examples of the tale?
Miguel de Cervantes
Back in the day
In 1598, French King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes to restore internal peace in France, ravaged by the Wars of Religion. The edict gave the French Protestants, or Huguenots, extensive rights and control of certain cities, including La Rochelle, which became a stronghold for them. However, Henry's successor, Louis XIII, and his minister, Cardinal Richelieu, resolved to crush the Huguenots, and La Rochelle fell after a 14-month siege. How did the royal forces block sea access to the city?
Born on a day like today
Salk was an American physician and microbiologist renowned for his work in developing the first vaccine against polio. He began his groundbreaking studies on viruses and immunization with the influenza virus. Later, while working with other scientists to classify the poliovirus, he confirmed earlier studies that identified three strains, and he showed that the killed virus of each strain could induce antibody formation without producing disease. Who owned the patent for Salk's vaccine?