Born in Italy in 1854, Palladino was a Spiritualist medium who travelled the world hosting séances at which tables seemed to levitate and spirits supposedly appeared. Many notable people—including Pierre Curie and Arthur Conan Doyle—became devotees of her. Despite performing under strict conditions that she could control, Palladino was repeatedly exposed as a fraud who pulled stunts like lifting tables with her feet. This prompted some to hold down her shoes during séances. What did she do then?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Back in the day
In 1942, Laval, a French politician who had advocated collaboration with Nazi Germany, came to power. His government drafted laborers for German factories, cooperated in the deportation of Jews to death camps, and instituted a rule of terror. After France was liberated by the Allies, Laval fled. He was eventually captured and returned to France, where he was convicted of treason and executed. How was Laval's attempt to escape execution thwarted by his jailers?
Born on a day like today
Wodehouse was an English-American comic writer who enjoyed enormous success during his more than 70-year career. His works are set in Edwardian England and feature idiotic youths, feckless debutantes, redoubtable aunts, and stuffy businessmen. His most famous characters are the young bachelor Bertie Wooster and his unflappable valet Jeeves. Although Wodehouse was knighted shortly before his death, the character of Bertie did cost him entry into the Order of the Companions of Honour in 1967. Why?