All posts by Ian Grieve

The Valentich Disappearance (1978)

On October 21, 1978, 20-year-old Frederick Valentich disappeared while piloting a Cessna light aircraft over Australia. He was supposed to land at King Island, pick up a few friends, and return to Moorabbin Airport, but during his flight, he reported to air traffic control that a strange aircraft was flying close above him. No trace of Valentich or his aircraft was ever found, prompting some to speculate that he had been captured by a UFO. What was the last thing he told flight controllers? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Valme

The Romeriá (pilgrimage) of Our Lady of Valme involves a cross-country pilgrimage. The image of Our Lady of Valme is kept in the parish church of Dos Hermanas, but on this day she is carried in an elaborate procession to the shrine of Valme, on a hill overlooking Seville, Spain. The cart bearing the statue of the Virgin Mary is drawn by oxen with gilded horns. The pilgrims walk behind, and it takes about three hours to reach the sanctuary. Everyone rushes inside, and the mass begins. Afterwards, there is dancing, singing and drinking until sunset, when the image is escorted back to Dos Hermanas. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ronald McNair (1950)

A nationally recognized US physicist, accomplished saxophonist, and black belt in karate, McNair was selected to join NASA’s astronaut training program in 1978. Six years later, aboard the space shuttle Challenger, he became the second African American in space. His next trip into orbit was to take place on the same shuttle on January 28, 1986, and McNair brought his sax along for the ride, intending to be the first to record an original piece of music in space. Why did this never happen? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Knowth

Knowth is the site of a Neolithic passage grave in the valley of Ireland’s River Boyne. Built approximately 5,000 years ago, the site consists of a large mound containing two passages leading to burial chambers. This is surrounded by 17 smaller satellite tombs. Knowth contains more than a third of all the megalithic art in Western Europe, including hundreds of stones decorated with spirals, crescents, and other shapes. Why do some believe that Knowth exhibits evidence of astronomical alignment? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Anglo-American Convention (1818)

The Anglo-American Convention was a treaty signed in 1818 between the US and UK resolving their standing border issues and allowing for joint rights to the Oregon Country. Though it marked the beginning of improved relations between the two countries, tensions remained over the shared territory in Oregon. The British-chartered Hudson’s Bay Company had already established a trading network there and sought to exclude US fur traders. What harsh policy did they implement to ward off competition? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Georgia Peanut Festival

A harvest festival paying tribute to Georgia’s top crop is held in Sylvester, the Peanut Capital of the World—more peanuts are produced in the region around Sylvester than anywhere else in the state. This festival, which comes at the end of the peanut harvest time, began in 1964. Events of the festival include a beauty pageant to choose a Little Miss Peanut, Junior Miss Peanut, and Georgia Peanut Queen; a peanut-recipe contest for school children; clogging exhibitions; a kiddy parade and a grand parade with floats, horses, antique cars, and people dressed as peanuts. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Arthur Rimbaud (1854)

Rimbaud may have put down his pen when he was just 19 to lead an international vagabond life as a merchant and trader, but in his few years as a poet, the precocious young Frenchman managed to create a literary legacy that would have a lasting influence on the symbolists and subsequent modern poets. He put his verbal virtuosity on display in works like “The Drunken Boat,” A Season in Hell, and Illuminations. Who shot and wounded Rimbaud during one of their many lovers’ quarrels? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary