A Brief History On May 22, 1176, The Hashshashin (Assassins) made an attempt on the life of Saladin, the First Sultan of Egypt and Syria. The attempt failed, and Saladin, a Kurd and a Sunni Muslim, continued his reign until his death in 1193 of fever at the age of 56. Kurdish by ethnicity, Saladin was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and ruled what is now Egypt, Syria and Yemen along with the West coast of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula and Upper Mesopotamia (parts of Northern Iraq, Northeast Syria and Southern Turkey). Saladin is probably the best known person…

A Brief History On November 15, 2010, Manchester University Press published a hardcover edition of Andrew Smith’s The ghost story, 1840-1920.  In this book, Smith shares his wealth of knowledge with his readers as he attempted to critique the history of the ghost story over a substantial period of time. This effort did not please critic Matt Foley, who considered the course of eighty years, starting from 1840 to be “wide in its scope,”[1] which it certainly is. Smith, however, seems to be quite knowledgeable on the topic of gothic literature, having produced numerous works in that department and gained…

A Brief History On May 14, 1816, romantically linked English authors Mary Godwin and Percy Shelley arrived at Geneva, Switzerland.  The poet Lord Byron (pictured on the right in the image above with Godwin in the middle and Shelley on the left) joined the young lovers on May 25th, with his young physician, John William Polidori.  Eventually, the friends decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story.  After thinking for days, Godwin, who would later that year marry Shelley, dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream…

A Brief History On May 21, 2011, Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping had predicted that the world as we know it would end, with the return of Jesus Christ and the advent of the “Rapture,” followed by months of fire and brimstone resulting in the destruction of Earth. If you were paying attention on that date, you will note that the end of times did not in fact begin on May 21, 2011! Many people have predicted the end of the world or the end of the world as we know it, and so far, each has been wrong. Today…

A Brief History On May 20, 1645, the forces of Prince Dodo (we do not make this stuff up!) of the Qing Dynasty conquered the city of Yangzhou, China, from the forces of the Southern Ming of the Hongguang Emperor. The Qing army commenced perhaps the greatest single incident atrocity/massacre in all of History by killing 800,000 people over the next 10 days. (See below for another candidate for worst massacre in History.) Digging Deeper China had long been fought over by rival warlords calling themselves “Emperor” and the carnage involved in these Chinese wars are among the deadliest in…

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