1894: Great Spider of Issoire

For many years it is undeniably stated that in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris–called the tomb of Issoire–a number of persons living in that quarter had mysteriously and periodically disappeared. The most careful researches, the most minute inquiries, the most skillful agents of the police had failed to discover the least trace of them. Every year successively some inhabitants of this quarter would suddenly disappear, leaving their friends overwhelmed with grief and anxiety. It is also stated that these strange, inexplicable facts always occurred in the early spring–from the 20th to the last of March–and without regard to age or sex. First a notary disappeared. It was thought he had used his client’s funds and fled to parts unknown. Then an old woman, returning late one night from market, was the next victim, then a laborer going home from work. The last victim had been a young girl–a flower […] Read More

2016: The human bone chandelier and other creepy decorations of the Cabaret of Death

The human bone chandelier at the Cabaret du Néant. Image credit: billyjane via Flickr. Patrons from far and wide came to sip drinks with names like Cholera and Arsenic while sitting at a coffin under a real human bone chandelier in the Cabaret of Death, a peculiar Parisian watering hole that opened in the early 1890s. The Cabaret of Death was in the eccentric Montmartre neighborhood near the divine Cabaret of the Sky (Cabaret du Ciel), the wicked Cabaret of the Inferno (Cabaret de l’Enfer), and the infamous Moulin Rouge!. The owner eventually changed the name of the tavern to the Cabaret of Nothingness (Cabaret du Néant) to make it palatable for the locals. The Cabaret du Néant was famous for its macabre decorations and optical illusions. In 1899, Ellsworth Douglass visited the Cabaret du Néant and wrote about the morbid décor and special effects in a review for […] Read More

2014: The ‘Mona Lisa’ Just Might Be Part Of History’s First 3D Image, Researchers Claim

Leonard da Vinci was the original Renaissance man, dabbling in not just art, but anatomy, geology, botany, cartography, mathematics, literature and much, much more. Not only do we give him credit for masterpieces like “The Last Supper” and “The Vitruvian Man,” history praises his work in musical instrument construction, hydraulics, cannon design and early flying machines. So it wouldn’t hurt, we suppose, to credit the man with 3D imagery too. It’s a claim German researchers Claus-Christian Carbon and Vera Hesslinger assert in their study of Leonardo’s famous portrait, “Mona Lisa.” The pair have been analyzing the well-known version of La Giaconda that hangs at Paris’ Louvre, as well as an eerily similar copy known as the “Prado Mona Lisa,” housed at the Museo del Prado in Spain, and have concluded that the two artworks — taken together — may amount to the first stereoscopic image in the world. In […] Read More

1867: Can The Double Murder?

To the Editor of “The Sun.” Sir,– One morning in 1867 Eastern Europe was startled by news of the most horrifying description. Michael Obrenovitch, reigning Prince of Serbia, his aunt, the Princess Catherine, or Katinka, and her daughter had been murdered in broad daylight, near Belgrade, in their own garden, assassin or assassins remaining unknown. The Prince had received several bullet-shots and stabs, and his body was actually butchered; the Princess was killed on the spot, her head smashed, and her young daughter, though still alive, was not expected to survive. The circumstances are too recent to have been forgotten, but in that part of the world, at the time, the case created a delirium of excitement. In the Austrian dominions and in those under the doubtful protectorate of Turkey, from Bucharest down to Trieste, no high family felt secure. In those half-Oriental countries every Montecchi has its Capuletti, […] Read More

An Unsolved Mystery

The circumstances attending the sudden death of M. Delessert, inspector of the Police de Sûreté, seem to have made such an impression upon the Parisian authorities that they were recorded in unusual detail. Omitting all particulars except what are necessary to explain matters, we produce here the undoubtedly strange history. In the fall of 1861 there came to Paris a man who called himself Vic de Lassa, and was so inscribed upon his passports. He came from Vienna, and said he was a Hungarian, who owned estates on the borders of the Banat, not far from Zenta. He was a small man, aged thirty-five, with pale and mysterious face, long blonde hair, a vague, wandering blue eye, and a mouth of singular firmness. He dressed carelessly and unaffectedly, and spoke and talked without much empressement. His companion, presumably his wife, on the other hand, ten years younger than himself, […] Read More

Count St. Germain

At long intervals have appeared in Europe certain men whose rare intellectual endowments, brilliant conversation, and mysterious modes of life have astounded and dazzled the public mind. The article now copied from All the Year Round relates to one of these men – the Count St. Germain. In Hargrave Jennings’ curious work, The Rosicrucians, is described another, a certain Signor Gualdi, who was once the talk of Venetian society. A third was the historical personage known as Alessandro di Cagliostro, whose name has been made the synonym of infamy by a forged Catholic biography. It is not now intended to compare these three individuals with each other or with the common run of men. We copy the article of our London contemporary for quite another object. We wish to show how basely personal character is traduced without the slightest provocation – unless the fact of one’s being brighter in […] Read More