High society circles in St. Petersburg in the late 19th century were fascinated with seances and efforts to contact the dead. There was one problem, however. This macabre movement in fact had started as a prank by two young charlatans in the U.S. The fraudulent nature of this pseudo-science, however, didn’t stop educated and powerful Russians from indulging in what is known as ‘Spiritualism’.
Older than Stonehenge and more enigmatic and ancient than the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Newgrange tomb in Ireland holds as many mysteries as each of those mysterious structures. The massive complex of Newgrange was built about 3200 BC, yet its existence was not discovered until 1699, when a local landowner wanted the mound dug up for its stones. In fact, throughout Ireland have been so far discovered over 200 such tombs.
Sublime Dreams of Living Machines. Part IV. One of the most interesting clocks, as well as one of the most representative of clockmaking during the transition from the late 16th to the early 17th century, is this rather spectacular automaton of Diana On Her Chariot, as it’s called.
Many great Europeans truly believed that their pens, as they composed, were guided by a divine spirit. Great musicians were quite clear in their belief that their works were the creation of a divine force, which we place under the blanket term, God.
The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play begins in 1633. In the midst of the Thirty Years’ War, after months of suffering and dying from the plague, the people of Oberammergau pledged to act out the »play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ« once every 10 years.
The aqueduct of Segovia is a classic example of Roman water transport architecture—simple in design, yet magnificent to behold, and surprisingly durable. The aqueduct was built in the 1st century AD to convey water from Frío River, 17 km away, to the city, and it has been carrying out this function in one form or another for the past 2,000 years. This is all the more impressive when you realize that this aqueduct was built without a single ounce of mortar.
Harvesting the unborn children seems to be the latest sick nightmare of Sweden’s liberal caucus. The Swedish Green Party wants to offer free, subsidised, and safe abortions in Sweden to Polish women in response to the Catholic country’s tough abortion laws.
The American and other standard railroad gauges (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. Admittedly, this is a rather odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Stephen Foster was America’s first great professional songwriter. He was the ninth child of William and Eliza Foster — arriving on earth July 4, 1826, as America was celebrating 50 years as a nation.
Sublime Dreams of Living Machines. Part III. The Silver Swan is an automaton dating from the 18th Century and is housed in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England.