January 22, 1879

On January 22, 1879, James Shields was elected as the US Senator from Missouri. He previously served as a Senator from Illinois (1849-1855), as well as Minnesota (1858-1859). He is the only person to ever serve as a US Senator for three different states. Another item of interest is that Mr. Shields was not a native American, but instead was born and educated in Ireland. He emigrated to the US in 1826 at the age of 20 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1840. Mr. Shields also almost fought a duel with Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1842, which is a story for a separate Twisted-History entry. Suffice to say, it did not happen and both men actually became friends afterwards.

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January 21, 1960

On January 21, 1960, the Little Joe 1B was launched from Wallops Island, Virginia. The Little Joe 1B was a launch escape system (LES) test of the Mercury spacecraft. The only passenger was a female rhesus monkey named Miss Sam. The capsule flew to a height of 9.3 miles and a range of 11.7 miles and was successfully recovered in 45 minutes by a Marine helicopter. NASA stated that the eight minute flight and test was a success as Miss Sam survived the launch and ocean landing. Miss Sam was one of many rhesus monkeys used in the space flight research by both Americans and Russians. There is no reliable information that Miss Sam developed psychic abilities due to her space-flight, but her handlers did start bringing her the best of the fresh fruits and set up play-dates with the male rhesus monkeys with the silkiest fur.

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January 20, 1982

On January 20, 1982, Heavy Metal Rock God, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a dead bat while giving a concert in Des Moines, Iowa. The deceased, rancid corpse of the rodent was tossed on the stage during the concert, and the drugged up Crowned Prince of Dark Metal snatched it up and chewed off its head. Some of the concert goers closer to the stage later claimed that they heard Ozzy slur the word, ‘braaaaiiins’ before chowing down, but it being Ozzy, he could have been slurring anything. He could have even said, “Shhhaaaaarrrooooon,” and nobody would have really known. He was subsequently rushed to a nearby hospital and given injections for rabies. No one is sure if Ozzy mutated into a zombie afterwards or if it was just his previous drug use that caused his physical transmutation.

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January 19, 1810

On January 19, 1810, the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire experienced its greatest drop in temperature ever recorded. On Thursday afternoon, January 18, it was a balmy 48 degrees Fahrenheit. By daybreak on Friday morning, January 19, 1810, the temperature had bottomed out to a negative 9 degrees Fahrenheit. People and livestock actually froze to death over the 18 hours of this intense drop in temperature. In New Hampshire, this became known as the ‘Cold Friday’ and for decades, when ‘Cold Friday’ was mentioned, people knew exactly what was meant. Also, it should be noted that after the Cold Friday, the New Hampshire North Shore towns of Arkham, Innsmouth, Kingsport and Dunwich would soon experience an increase in strange birth defects, odd psychotic behavior from eccentric rich families involved in the shipping industry, and the  disappearance of townfolk who lived close to the tributaries that fed into the North Atlantic Ocean.

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January 18, 1644

On January 18, 1644, the first documented case of a USO/UFO (Unidentified Submerged Object/Unindentified Flying Object) was made. John Winthrop’s, the Governor of Massachusetts, diary had an entry detailing the event. In it, he stated that three men in a boat in the Boston Harbor observed at midnight two lights rise up and out from the water, fly into the air and speed towards the city of Boston. At the time, people thought either the men were drinking or they saw a devil or ghost. Today, we know that’s not true. Either they were drinking or they saw aliens.

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January 17, 1984


On January 17, 1984, the US Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that private use of home VCRs to tape TV programs for later viewing did not violate federal copyright laws, thereby preventing every current and future American from becoming a felon. Chief Justice Warren Burger said that turning an entire generation of Americans into pirates over something that is sent free over the airways would have unintended, childish results. Having grown men and women saying ‘Arggh’, ‘Avast, ye mateys’, and “Thar she blows’, would just be silly, but he did agree that having a pet parrot might be fun.

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January 16, 1945

On January 16, 1945, Adolf Hitler and his posse move into his underground bunker, called the Fuhrerbunker, over his protests. He wanted to move into his Fuhrerbaumhaus and institute a no girls policy. His wife, Eva Braun protested and put her foot down, saying she was not going to live in a tree and read comic books and eat cereal all day. She also pointed out that if there was a no girls policy, where would she stay. On hinder-sighten, she should have let Adolf and his friends live in the tree-house.

 

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January 15, 1899

On January 15, 1899, Edwin Markham’s seminal poem. “The Man With a Hoe” was published for the first time in the San Francisco Examiner. The poem was inspired by Jean-Francois Millet’s painting “L’homme a la houe”, which depicted a weary, French peasant leaning against his hoe in a field not his own. The poem was quickly reprinted across the United States as it portrayed how much of humanity was being used and burdened by their work, while receiving little rest or reward for their labors. A hundred years later, in 1999, Matthew Montgomery Wilder’s, Esq., poem, “A Man With a Ho,” received little acclaim and no recognition, as the main stanza went, “Twenty bucks, same as in town,” and finished, “You’re under arrest, I’m a police officer, scumbag.” The Honorable Mr. Wilder is believed to have derived his inspiration from real life events.

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January 14, 1911

On January 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen’s polar expedition landed upon the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions and was the leader of the first team to reach the South Pole in December 1911. It was rumored that Roald had uncovered an ancient mysterious fossilized bone from a tribe of cannibalistic Inuits that lived off the eastern coast of Greenland in 1906. The bone was etched with uncypherable runes. Amundsen stated that the tribe of Inuits wouldn’t allow him to take the bone, but did allow him to make a paper etching of it. Amundsen claimed to have finally decrypted the etching in 1909. He refused to divulge what the runes said, other than it was a strange ratio upon which the universe operated. He then put together his team for the South Pole expedition. Amunden’s team was the first to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911. While he appeared happy to have been the first, his crew said he was strangely disappointed. As though he was expecting something to happen or be there that wasn’t. Amundsen returned home and made other polar expeditions, both in the South and North pole areas. He disappeared in 1928, while exploring the Barents Sea north of Norway.

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