Monthly Archives: June 2018

Mysterious Beast of Gévaudan Kills Its First Victim (1764)

From 1764 to 1767, the people of Gévaudan, France, reported dozens of sightings of a man-eating, wolf-like creature now known as the Beast of Gévaudan. According to many accounts, the beast—consistently described as having large teeth and an immense tail—killed some 100 people, prompting King Louis XV to send hunters to slay it. Some stories say a local hunter shot the beast, possibly with silver bullets. What mythical creature did some suggest was behind the attacks? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Joust of the Saracens (La Giostra del Saracino)

The most famous of the Italian jousting festivals, La Giostra del Saracino originated during the Crusades (11th-13th centuries), when it was used as propaganda to support the fight to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. Eight knights representing the four quarters of Arezzo, where the festival takes place, march to the piazza, where an effigy of a Moor or Saracen has been set up. The effigy is armed with a heavy flail, and the knights must try to hit it in the center with their lances without being touched by the flail. The winner is rewarded with a golden lance on behalf of his district. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Florence Ballard (1943)

A founding member of The Supremes, Ballard sang on 16 Top 40 hit singles. She was first recruited by future members of The Temptations for a sister group they were forming. Ballard in turn recruited Mary Wilson, whom she had met at a talent show, and Wilson brought in Diana Ross. Disputes over Ballard’s role in the trio led Motown Records to release her from the group in 1967, reportedly for “exhaustion.” Her solo career failed, and she died in 1976 at age 32 as a result of what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Possibly the greatest influence on 20th-century Western occultism, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a magical society founded by Freemasons in the late 1800s. The original order followed the curriculum set forth in the Cipher Manuscripts, blending elements of various esoteric traditions including Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, astrology, and alchemy. Its concepts of magic and ritual were adopted by many other traditions, including Wicca. Who were some of the order’s most famous members? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sampoong Department Store Collapse (1995)

During the construction of what was to be an office building in Seoul, South Korea, owner Lee Joon decided to change course and make it a department store. Contractors who would not comply with his design modifications, which included removing some support columns in favor of escalators, were replaced. By April 1995, cracks were visible in the five-story structure. Two months later, in a span of only 20 seconds, the building collapsed with more than 1,500 people inside. How many of them died? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ludwig August Theodor Beck (1880)

A German general, Beck saw the Nazis’ rise to power as “the first ray of hope since 1918.” However, he soon feared that Germany was not militarily prepared for an attack on Czechoslovakia. He voiced concern to Adolf Hitler directly, and, in 1938, he resigned in protest against the planned attack but was largely ignored. Beck then became a key member of the conspiracy to overthrow Hitler. What happened to Beck after his plan failed to kill Hitler with a bomb on July 20, 1944? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Battle of Megiddo

The Battle of Megiddo was fought around 1468 BCE between Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a Canaanite coalition that was ultimately defeated. It is the first battle in history known to have been recorded in relatively reliable detail. Because of Megiddo’s strategic location at the crossing of military and trade routes, it has since been the scene of many other battles. What concession did Thutmose require from each of the defeated Canaanite kings? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary