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Today in HistoryDec 14 1503

Nostradamus (external - login to view) born. If you write vague enough prophecies, they will fool almost anyone.
Dec 14 1944
Lupe Velez, Hollywood's "Mexican Spitfire" of the 1940's, commits suicide (external - login to view) with an overdose (external - login to view) of sleeping pills. Contrary to her plans of being found laid out on the bed in a silk nightgown, she is instead discovered in the bathroom with her head in the toilet. Her ex-husband, Tarzan star Johnny Weismuller, frequently used to beat her.
Dec 14 1991
A ferry near Safaga, Egypt on the Red Sea strikes a coral reef, drowning more than 460 passengers.


Yesterday in HistoryDec 13 303
The feast of St. Lucy. Because her extreme beauty attracted too many admirers, Lucy gouged her own eyes out. Miraculously they grew back. After refusing to marry, the Romans forced her to become a *****. Early depictions show Lucy offering her eyes on a platter; she is now the patron saint of Sicily and of opticians.
Dec 13 1937

The Japanese Army occupies Nanking, China. For the next three weeks, with the unspoken permission of the army, soldiers literally rape the city, committing untold individual acts of atrocity and killing 350,000 civilians. The Rape of Nanking (external - login to view) remains an event unacknowledged and unapologized by the Japanese government.
Dec 13 1942
A fire at a Knights of Columbus men's dance in St. Johns, Newfoundland cooks approximately 100 people. The exits were locked.
Dec 13 1973
The Reverend Jim Jones (external - login to view) is arrested in a cruisy (external - login to view) movie theater bathroom in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Jones had the bad luck to hit on an undercover LAPD vice officer while masturbating (external - login to view) in the Westlake Theatre men's room.
Dec 13 1990
Twelve people die in a religious sacrifice in Tijuana. Industrial alcohol is introduced into fruit punch of ceremony recipients. It is unknown whether the incident constituted suicide or murder.


Wait there's moreDec 12 1915
Francis Albert Sinatra (external - login to view)'s birthday. We've been asked not to bring up his mafia connections, so today we will not be resorting to that cheap gimmick to slander the Chairman of the Board.
Dec 12 1917
The worst train wreck in history, leaving 543 Frenchmen dead.
Dec 12 1937
US gunboat Panay is sunk by the Japanese military on the Yangtze River by a combined action of bombing, dive bombing, and strafing. Japan apologized, disciplining those involved and paying $2.2M reparations.
Dec 12 1980

"Whip It" earns Devo a gold record. It is the first distinction of its kind for any song about masturbation (external - login to view). Whip it good.
Dec 12 1989
Leona Helmsley fined $7 million and sentenced to jail for 21 months for tax evasion. They made the bitch serve 900 hours of community service.
Dec 12 1991 Richard Gere (claims he is not gay (external - login to view)) marries supermodel Cindy Crawford (ditto). Widespread rumors that Gere was intimate with a gerbil have yet to be verified.