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October 31

In 1943, on this day cancer survivor Louis Brian Piccolo was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Part of the American Heroes thread.

Pic"Pic" made the taxi squad for the Chicago Bears after missing out on selection for the 1965 NFL Draft. He then created a sensation off the field. In a break from the segregation living arrangements of the era, he roomed with the "Kansas Comet", an African American starting tailback called Gale Sayers. In direct competition for the same position, he eventually took the position of starting fallback during 1969. Although they were both very young men, it would be their final full season in the NFL.

Always close friends, both men had become full-on partners since the 1968 season when Piccolo nursed Sayers back from a serious knee injury that threatened his career. A year later, Sayers helped Piccolo to recover from a cancer scare. With the respective sporting careers cut short, they both moved on to transformative community projects in the city of Chicago. It was just the beginning of something absolutely incredible.

In 1950, on this day Canadian actor and comedian John Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario.

Birth of Canadian Funnyman John CandyHe rose to fame as a member of the Toronto branch of The Second City and its related Second City Television series, and through his appearances in comedy films such as Stripes, Splash, Cool Runnings, Summer Rental, The Great Outdoors, Spaceballs, and Uncle Buck. One of his most renowned on-screen performances was as Del Griffith, the loquacious, on-the-move shower-curtain ring salesman in the John Hughes comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Despite steadily losing weight on doctor's advice, he suffered a heart attack while filming the Western parody Wagons East!. He recovered to voice a turkey named Redfeather in Pocahontas but then made the fateful decision to join the cast of Saturday Night Live. The Christmas 2005 episode quickly became famous for two classic skits: the Samberg/Parnell rap song "Lazy Sunday", and "Brokeback New World", a spoof of the movie "The New World", in which Captain John Smith has little interest in Pocahontas and instead falls for Wahunsonacock, played by Candy.

In 1950, on this day Canadian actor and comedian John Candy was born in Newmarket, Ontario.

Birth of Canadian Funnyman John CandyHe rose to fame as a member of the Toronto branch of The Second City and its related Second City Television series, and through his appearances in comedy films such as Stripes, Splash, Cool Runnings, Summer Rental, The Great Outdoors, Spaceballs, and Uncle Buck. One of his most renowned on-screen performances was as Del Griffith, the loquacious, on-the-move shower-curtain ring salesman in the John Hughes comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Despite steadily losing weight on doctor's advice, he suffered a heart attack while filming the Western parody Wagons East!. He recovered to voice a turkey named Redfeather in Pocahontas but then made the fateful decision to join the cast of Saturday Night Live. The Christmas 2005 episode quickly became famous for two classic skits: the Samberg/Parnell rap song "Lazy Sunday", and "Brokeback New World", a spoof of the movie "The New World", in which Captain John Smith has little interest in Pocahontas and instead falls for Wahunsonacock, played by Candy.

In 1968, citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.

Vietnam War October surpriseBroadcast only days before the General Election, the "October Surprise" is a well-timed boost for Vice President Humphrey H. Humphrey who is running neck and neck in the polls with the hawkish California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Although Humphrey had distanced himself from Johnson, voters begin to sense a light at the end of the tunnel and narrowly elect "The Happy Warrior" and his running mate Ed Muskie. Reagan meanwhile curses his bad luck at having a third party candidate George Wallace carry five states in the South.

If there were positives to be taken from the election, then perhaps two might have be worth a mention. Humphrey, a candidate in 1960, had won on his second attempt and perhaps Reagan could take some heart in that precedent. And secondly, due to the vigilance of the White House medical staff, Humphrey's cancer was identified [1] before it could spread into his bladder. He would after all live to see the epic Muskie v Reagan contest in the bicentennial year.

In 1956, at an emergency meeting of the Praesidium, Soviet leaders from the anti-party group forced Nikita Khrushchev (pictured) to resign as First Secretary of the Communist Party. [1] Because it had become increasingly clear that the de-Stalinization policies he launched in his "Secret Speech" at the 20th Party Congress were now beginning to break-up the Warsaw Pact.

Conjoined Crisis Part 8
Khrushchev Forced out of the Politburo
But of course his downfall had been hastened by a recent series of blunders which had caused the escalation of the current crisis, namely the release of Russian Adventurer Boris Skossyreff, yielding to Władysław Gomułka the newly appointed First Secretary of the Party in Poland and then the highly publicized arrest of the maverick aristocrat Otto von Habsburg. The Western Media had then misreported a co-ordinated attempt to recover their thrones by the Imperial Houses of Eastern Europe.

Nevertheless, prior to the Hungarian Uprising, these events might even have been dismissed as minor adjustments in the arrangements of Eastern Europe. But in Hungary, Soviet forces had been withdrawn to their barracks, and then Imre Nagy announced the withdrawal of the country from the Warsaw Pact. This declaration was of course an unmistakable challenge to Soviet Authority. Almost certainly a military confrontation would be required to make the necessary correction. However Khrushchev had given mixed messages and therefore the Praesidium feared the Western reaction to direct intervention. During the turmoil, matters were made even worse when Michael King of the Rumanians announced his intention to re-occupy the throne that the Soviets had forced him to abdicate in 1948 when he was the last surviving monarch behind the Iron Curtain. An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread.

In 2011, for the upcoming General Election, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced a new format, eight event schedule featuring debates by the Presidential and Vice-Presidential plus their respective wives.

First Ladies DebateThe six candidate debates would focus on domestic and foreign policy in both town-meeting and lecture theate formats, whereas their wives two debates would focus entirely on family and social issues set in a more relaxed chat show format.

Needless to say, a significant amount of criticism was levelled at the CPD for formulating these misogynistic plans. However, they need not of worried, because the whole schedule was thrown a huge curveball by the late introduction of a third party candidate, Mitt Romney. The former CEO of Baine Capital, he was welcomed in some quarters as a Ross Perot-style pro-business candidate. But at the DNC, he was savaged by Ted Kennedy who had comprehensively beat him in a 1994 Senatorial Race and convinced many undecided voters that Romney was running on essentially the same eighteen-year old campaign platform.

The first debate was held on Wednesday, October 3 at the Magness Arena in the University of Denver. Despite his well deserved reputation for meeting control, the seventy-eight year old moderator Jim Lehrer would have struggled to maintain order over the six 15-minute segments. But the too and fro of this unwieldy format was further complicated by the divergent styles and behaviours of Obama, Romney and the GOP Candidate Ron Paul. For tactical reasons that emerged later in the campaign, Obama was attempting to trap Romney in an obvious falsehood, an obvious ploy given Romney's gaffe-prone campaign. Meanwhile, Romney presenting a high-level business pitch, that at least superficially, sounded credible. Given the opportunity to engage in a head-to-head with the President, this might have defeated Obama's professorial style. But unfortunately for both candidates, Ron Paul's presence introduced even more confusion, with some critics accusing him of trying to undo the twentieth century.

As a result, the CPD were forced to admit that the First Wives Debates (pictured) were a triumph of common sense, rational logic and control that utterly discreted the chaotic debates between their respective spouses.

In 1517, after a study of social structure, lawyer and university professor Martin Luther sent his famous letter to Frederick III, Elector of Saxony, as well as publishing a copy on the door of the town hall with ninety-five questions critiquing the current political and economic system in the Holy Roman Empire called "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Rule".

Martin Luther Nails Ninety-Five Theses to Wittenburg Town Hall The points would become the most famous document of the time, being republished along with many other of Luther's works calling for social reform based upon early humanist ideals. With a sudden concrete philosophical base, peasants who had been kept under feudal thumb for centuries would successfully rise up to establish representation as Europe's dominant political system.

Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483, in Eisleben in the midst of the Holy Roman Empire. His father, Hans Ludher, was of comfortable wealth in the working middle class, serving in the copper industry as owner of mines and smelters as well as a citizen representative in the town council. As eldest son, Martin was expected by his hardworking parents to become a lawyer and make a great name for himself in Germany. Martin was well educated as a youngster and sent to the University of Erfurt (which he later described as "a beerhouse and whorehouse") where he would gain a master's degree in 1505 and enroll in law school. He found the law to be vague and his schooling to be nothing more than rote learning. Tutors inspired him to critique even so-called "great thinkers", but Luther found difficulty accepting cold reason when a loving God was key to the meaning of man.

On July 2, 1505, Luther rode through a thunderstorm on his way home from university and became terrified when lightning began to strike. He called out, "Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!" Luther survived the storm and told his father about his vow. Hans became livid and attempted to persuade his son not to waste his years of education by leaving law and going into a monastery. Luther was unconvinced until his father reminded him of the Fifth Commandment, "Honor your father and mother". Luther would have ample time to become a monk upon retirement after fulfilling his father's request of serving in the law. The moment would convince Luther of the effectiveness of reason in earthly matters, such as his own life, while unquestionable truths, such as carrying out his vow, were still in the realm of God and Heaven.

For the next decade, Luther threw himself into his work, completing his juris doctorate and establishing a successful practice in nearby Wittenberg. Still in his thirties, Luther began to teach at the university and worked to perfect the tangled mess that was the legal code at the dawn of sixteenth century Germany. After much struggle, he determined that the law being a "top-down" system was ineffectual when a much better "bottom-up" system would establish code of conduct as well as rights for all men. Although accused of anarchy and purporting regicide, Luther never encouraged and even decried violence against ruling royalty. In many of his writings, he supported the idea of rulers being placed in position by God, yet he said that if their position was abused, they should be removed legally, just as the servant with one talent had been unfaithful in Jesus' Parable of the Talents.

Upon publication of his thoughts in 1517, Luther would become an international name. Frederick the Wise would become a benefactor of Luther, whereas many lords called for his immediate execution for treason. It is said that Frederick, though holding his claim and estates, understood the changing of the times. The Bundschuh Movement had caused uprisings along the Rhine valley among the peasants calling for better treatment (the "bundschuh" being a tied peasant's shoe, which they used for their symbol). Each of these uprisings had been violently put down with mass executions of anyone resembling an instigator with even crusades launched against the followers of Huss, but more and more would crop up as years passed. Frederick encouraged his fellow nobles to read Luther's writings and attempt to work with the peasants instead of stemming an ever-increasing tide.

In 1521, Luther was taken to be questioned by Charles V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and King of the Romans, Italians, and Spanish, as well as Duke of Burgundy and Lord of the Netherlands; he was the most powerful man in Europe outside of the Pope. At the conclusion of the diet, Charles declared Luther an outlaw and banned his books, but Luther was secretly taken to safety by Frederick to Wartburg Castle and eventually returned quietly to Wittenberg. Meanwhile, the "Knights' Revolt" would erupt with lesser nobility attempting to seize addition freedoms and rights, but would quickly be put down.

Three years later, peasants following Luther's ideals sent a petition to Charles called the Twelve Articles of the Black Forest addressing grievances, such as the demands of the Countess of Lupfen for serfs to collect snail shells for her thread spools during harvest-time. More radical leaders such as Zwilling and the Anabaptist movement were largely passed over since Luther had inspired a sense of separation of church and state in many of his arguments. The petition was ignored by Charles, and the peasants revolted with initial nonviolence, simply refusing to carry out the orders of those who had abused their post and electing new officials. Luther applauded the moderate revolution and noted the failures of the "poor barons" of the Knights' Revolt.

Finding increasing cohesion across Germany, the peasants' army grew into the hundreds of thousands, and their elected officials served effectively, especially those lesser nobles who volunteered after losing their claims in the failed Knights' Revolt. Scholars would later describe this joining of forces by the lower and middle class as instrumental in toppling the Holy Roman Empire and spreading their ideals to Italy, England, and Eastern Europe. The resulting confederacies would follow much of the Swiss style, creating the Reformed Era of Europe. For the next several centuries, the absolute monarchies of nations such as France, Sweden, and Russia would war against the Confederations, despite their inherent religious ties through Christendom. Technology and industry made leaps and bounds in central Europe, especially after advancements in capitalism and banking, and well judged political systems would ensure the sharing of resources and the rights of workers as early as the late eighteenth century as outlined by English philosopher John Locke.

Luther himself would enter a monastery on his sixtieth birthday, serving there until his death two years later.

In 1938, on this day Martian diplomatic envoys landed in the British town of Woking for a historic meeting with British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and his inner circle.

Part Two of Parley There was a certain irony in the locale for this meeting, given that in H.G. Wells' classic novel War Of The Worlds Woking was the site where Martian war machines had launched their first attack on Earth; journalists covering the meeting were quick to note the contrast between that violent fictional confrontation and the more cordial actual summit between the Martian diplomats and Chamberlain's cabinet.

For one man present at the summit, the event had a special personal significance -- H.G. Wells had agreed to write a commentary on the Woking conference for the London Times. In later years his article would come to be regarded as the definitive journalistic account of Great Britain's first direct encounter with extraterrestrials. Back in the United States, meanwhile, President Roosevelt and his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, were debriefing selected members of Congress on FDR's discussions with the Martian delegation that had landed in Grover's Mill the previous night.

In 1887, on this day Chiang Kai-shek was born in Fenghua, a county-level city in the north of Zhejiang province, China.

Birth of Chiang Kai-shekHe led the Northern Expedition to unify the country, becoming China's nominal leader in 1926. He then served as Chairman of the National Military Council of the Nationalist government of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1948 when the country was partitioned.

Whilst the partition was a devastating setback for the Nationalist Government in Peking, responsibility for the reversal lay not with General Chiang Kai-shek himself but rather with his American allies who had struggled to grasp the full context of the conflict.

The Soviet Union had invaded Manchuria (and later Hokkaido) to defeat the Japanese, and this intervention provided a security buffer for the Chinese Communists. When the Soviets withdrew, Kai-shek's second "Northern Expedition" had been on the brink of victory. Having advanced into the outskirts of the city of Harbin, the Nationalists were on the verge of seizing the security key to the North.

Instead the "loss of north-eastern China" like so many setbacks for the country was entirely due to foreign meddling in the form of the unwelcome intervention of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall. Alarmed at the prospect of World War Three breaking out should the Soviet's intervene, he had convinced Chiang Kai-shek to agree to a ceasefire.

Marshall's actions might have headed off World World Three, but they created a conundrum for the United States. And the problem of "two Chinas" would vex American foreign policy until the mid nineteen seventies when both of the principles would die within a year of each other. By then Manchuria had been devastated by Mao's programmes which included the Great Leap Forward and also the Cultural Revolution. His successors would be forced to flee to Hokkaido, seeking refuge with the Communist Government of North Japan.

In 1901, on this day the 25th President of the United States William McKinley announced his intention for the Phillipines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba to be guided towards full independence before the expiry of his term of office in 1905.

A Powder Keg waiting to go offThose territories had been conceded to the United States following the recent war with Spain. The trigger for that war had been the explosion of the US Battleship Maine in Havana Harbour. The tragedy which had taken the lives of 266 American crewmen was originally blamed by war mongerers on Spanish sabotage, but later discovered to be a freak accident caused by the explosion of powder magazines.

Dispatched by McKinley against his better judgement, the crew's mission was to assist the valiant rebels fight their cruel Spanish overlords. But ever since the peace negotiations in Paris, rebels on all four islands had viewed the new US governments as a new set of equally unwelcome masters.

A civil war veteran, McKinley perceived the decidedly un-American outcome of the conflict which his Secretary of State John Hay had foolishly called "a splendid little war". And also the pressure coming from new forces in American society who were openly advocating an expansionist policy that utterly disregarded George Washington's prophetic warning against the dangers of "foreign entanglements". Because the projection of American power meant that imperialism, like the Maine, was a dangerous powderkeg just waiting to go off.

The iron had finally settled into McKinley's soul on September 6th, when an anarchist called Leon Czolgosz had attempted to murder him in Buffalo. His life was only saved by the operation of an experimental X-Ray machine being showcased at the Pan-American Exposition which the President was attending when the fateful shot was fired. The machine located the bullet, preventing the President from being infected by his bungling doctors.

In 1864, the Province of Nevada first achieved self-government as a state of the (former) United States.

Canadian Province of NevadaAlthough the congressional delegation did vote for the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution banning slavery on January 31, 1865, it was the only significant legislation Nevada had any say in before the American Union finally disintegrated after the Union defeat at Nashville in December 1864. With a fully reequipped Confederate army poised on the Ohio River on January 31, President Lincoln was forced to resign, and President Hamlin unilaterally declared a ceasefire on February 1.

In the resulting constitutional melee, Lord Palmerston offered the western states and territories a place - and British protection - in the future Canadian dominion, an offer that was gratefully accepted. Despite its small population, Nevada was formally recreated as one of the first seven Canadian provinces on July 1, 1867.

In 1939, approval for the fateful decision to bomb Azerbaijan's oil fields was granted by the Prime Minister and his Minister of Naval Forces on this day at British General Headquarters.

Crazy HeadsIntelligence reports unambiguously confirmed that Stalin's supply of Baku's oil had been transferred to the Nazis in a secret protocol of the Soviet German Pact (pictured). Twenty-five million barrels of oil per year would be sufficient for Hitler's Panzers Division to conquer Europe, and therefore the strike order was transmitted to French Air Forces in Syria without delay. Trouble was, the operation was bungled, and the oil wells and refineries in Baku and the northern Caucasus escaped with minimal damage. Allied military leaders were forced to revert to the inferior Plan B, in which British submarines would seek to prevent the transportation of oil in the Black Sea.

The "the possibilities of bombing and demolition of Baku" were first raised in Paris by the US Ambassador to France, W. Bullitt. The French Government ordered General Gamelen and Admiral Darlan to work out a "plan of possible intervention with the view of destroying Russian oil exploitation". Ambassador Bullit informed US President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Daladye considered that aircraft attacks against Baku would be "the most efficient way to weaken the Soviet Union".

It would prove a costly mistake. In postwar statements, Charles De Gaulle would later claim that "crazy heads that were thinking more of how to destroy Baku than of resisting Berlin". He was right. Forced into the conflict after Pearl Harbour, the US would find itself at war with the combined might of the German-Soviet-Japanese Axis powers.

In 2009, in Toronto on the production set of John Ringo's brilliant concept movie "The Last Centurion", filming was postponed indefinately on this day; the cause was a real life triple-apocalypse even more terrifying than the dual catastrophoes of the movie which portrayed a new mini-ice age and, nearly simultaneously, a plague to dwarf all previous experiences.
Click to watch the author's interview with Kelly Lockhart

Infected TorchbearersThe first Olympic torchbearers Catriona Le May-Doan and Simon Whitfield had carried the Olympic flame through a crowd of thousands in Victoria, but they also carried with them a slow-acting variant of the zombie virus known as "Solanum". Yet the prospects for quarantining the crisis had initially seemed favourable because the gestation period was over a fortnight, and patients injected early enough had a survival rate of over 95%.

And so Health Canada confidently informed all provinces and territories that volume shipments of vaccination shots would be sufficient to beat the pandemic. At a press conference in Ottawa, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones said the Public Health Agency had already shipped six million vaccinations before the last week of October, and confirmed that GlaxoSmithKline had opened additional production lines at its plant in Ste-Foy, Quebec to fulfil a Canadian order of 50.4 million doses.

Just twenty-fours later, a hijacked Air Canada Jet Liner crashed into the production facility, and a terrorist cell of Al-qaeda launched a devastating follow-up assault. Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared a national emergency, and the prospects for there even being a recognisable Canadian nation to host Vancouver 2010 sharply diminished.

In 2004, the world was rocked by allegations that while being held as a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, Republican presidential nominee John McCain was not tortured as he claimed.

McCain's Change for America Part 2 by Zach TimmonsAlthough the allegations came from McCain's former guard in the prison, a Mr. Tran Trong Duyet, the rumors came at an extremely inconvenient time (4 days before the election), and also raised the issue of McCain's insistence on referring to his Vietnamese captors as "g**ks".

President Gore issued a statement supporting Sen. McCain, stating in part that "I may disagree with Sen. McCain on many issues, but no one can question the fact that he is a honorable man who faithfully served his country, and suffered terrible injuries for it".

In 2871, old style, a remarkable discovery was made by cyborg archeologists dispatched from the Post-American world of Samothrace in the Alpha Centauri system.

DedicationCarbon-dating and DNA matching techniques provided unmistakeable evidence that the human remains discovered on the Liliesleaf Farm belonged to the twentieth century revolutionary Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (pictured). Click to watch the first TV Interview of Nelson Mandela from 1961

Now a site of national heritage, Liliesleaf Farm was the location of the Rivonia Trial in 1963 at which Mandela famously declared "During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die".

Ten leaders of the African National Congress including Mandela were executed, yet their ideal survived the desperate centuries of the domination that followed. During that time, the Drakas established the Final Society, populated by a genetically altered new serf race, Homo Servus, which was incapable of rebelling.

In 1887, inventor Karl Leiber originated the concept of Candy Corn, a small candy laboriously made of sugar, water, corn syrup, fondant, and marshmallow in three colored layers. The candy was intended to be a Halloween special, bringing to mind the changing colors of the fall and the old staple winter foods of the colonists. When he presented his ideas to the Wunderle Candy Company however, he was laughed out of the business.
In 2003, the dead rise from their graves and walk the land as the Holy British Empire hears the 6th trumpet. The walking dead cry for the living to repent before the final trumpet sounds, that they may not suffer the fate of the damned.
In 1987, Joseph Campbell, explorer of ancient myths, dies and is buried in Honolulu, Hawaii. That night, he appears in a dream to George Lucas, who conceives a new trilogy for his Star Wars saga based on the tales that Campbell brings to him from the other side; but, he has to tone down the Gungan that Campbell speaks of, because its horror is too much for an audience to take.
In 1902, sensors within the solar system detect something that distorts space and time around it approaching the earth. Powerless to stop it, they watch as it descends on the Mlosh colony ship and gathered Mlosh in the Sahara Desert; its formless and unspeakable horror driving both men and Mlosh mad at the sight. For a long day and night, the Mlosh battle this hideous demon from beyond the stars; humanity prays that its allies win the struggle.
In 1936, Bess Houdini is found dead on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel. One of a series of seances conducted on the anniversary of her husband's death, the event is shrouded in mystery. The only access to the roof was locked, and no buildings nearby could have permitted access. No official cause of death is ever released. One eerie piece of the puzzle that quickly spread through the grapevine: the seance table was shattered, the pieces and objects used scattered about the roof as if by some terrific force.
In 1929, St. Louis city officials announced that they wanted to establish something called trick-or-treat, where children would go door to door dressed in costumes begging for candy as an alternative to the traditional, (and increasingly destructive), pranks that were pulled every prior October 31st. This was the first year that children dressed in costumes assisted in the burning down of City Hall. The St. Louis City Hall was burned down 3 more times in the next 10 years.
In 1926, famed magician and escape artist Erich Weiss "died" of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix received two weeks earlier, when an overenthusiastic fan sought to test his ability to withstand blows by unexpectedly punching him in the abdomen. Weiss was interred in the Machpelah Cemetery, Queens, New York, but his grave was found torn open and empty the morning following his burial. In decades to follow, Weiss was spotted in formerly-empty prison cells at maximum-security penitentiaries, wrapped in anchor chains at major shipyards, and half-buried in concrete at construction sites. However, he has never been found and held successfully.
In 1926, Harry Houdini is released from the hospital. Houdini was hospitalized after being punched at a school twelve days before and having his appendix burst. This brush with mortality gave Houdini his biggest thrill to date and convinced Harry to push the limits more than ever before. In subsequent shows he had audience members shoot, stab, and poison him to show he could escape even from death.
In 1926, Harry Houdini, hospitalized at Detroit's Grace Hospital for peritonitis following an injury received days earlier at Garrick Theater, receives a visit from a mysterious doctor who spends several hours alone with the injured escapist. When nurses and family check in on the injured performer later, they find him fully recovered with no sign of the mysterious doctor. Houdini is unable to recall the man's name or anything about the strange visit. After this time, the famous performer and debunker begins to inexplicably travel through the ancient towns of haunted Massachusetts; focusing special attention on the storied town of Arkham.
In 1892, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was published. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a lifelong believer in the supernatural, created the character of Holmes as a vehicle for his occult beliefs. A detective who solved crimes via such methods as scrying, seances, and faerie assistance, Holmes and his trusted Boswell, mentalist John H. Watson, have become enduring characters that fascinate readers even today.
In 1517, Martin Luther, followed by acolytes, tries to impose his 95 theses in Wittenberg, Germany. Moments after he nails these theses at a church gate, he's struck by lighting in front of the whole town. Pope Leo X called this tragedy an act of punishment from God. "May the Lord forgive his heretical soul and may he finally realize that there?s only one truth", he said publicly.
In 605, in accordance to Pope Gregory the First's edict to his missionaries to Christianize pagan rituals, Brother Seanedd spoke to the pagans in Eire, stating Samhain was a ritual that worshiped the Christian God. The druids counciled, nodded wisely, and invited Brother Seanedd to be a part of that years celebration. That marked the first year a Christian was immolated in the Samhain Eve bone fires.
In 1972, Sondra Laval, niece of the mad priest Father Vincent Laval, leads the Montignac villagers and Professor Karl Ainsworth, Dr. Yvette Montclair, and Officers Gerard Hortefeux and Patrice Orleans to the Lascaux cave, where Father Laval is waiting for them. "Now, my children, the Great Bear shall fill His belly and go back to the sleep of ages," he says to them, "while His children grow strong and we tend them for another generation, until one rises to take His place. Our sacrifices are nearly done; just these few more," he says, waving at the outsiders, "and myself". He begins chanting in the Sanskrit-derived language that has placed the citizens of Montignac under his spell, but Sondra Laval and Professor Ainsworth chant something else to the villagers, keeping Father Laval's control at bay. They follow the priest into the cave and to the forbidden passageway, where the huge, ancient bear waits. Father Laval goes back to the bear and strokes its great muzzle tenderly. "Soon, my Master, I shall be one with You". He turns to the villagers and points at Dr. Montclair. "Bring the woman first". Montclair raises a tranquilizer rifle and fires into the bear, saying, "I don't think so". Professor Ainsworth and the two policeman also fire tranquilizer darts into the bear, which roars and charges. Ainsworth and Sondra Laval shout at it in the ancient tongue, and it pauses, confused. "No, my Master," Father Laval screams at it, just as Officer Hortefeux shoots him with a dart. The others pepper the bear with more darts until it falls. Then, they turn their attention to the mad priest, who has crawled to the side of the bear and is trying to chant through the haze of the drug. "My Master shall destroy you all," the priest slurs out, "you shall taste their souls, Master. You shall..". The drug finally takes him, and he falls. Professor Ainsworth says to the villagers, "Let's get him out of here, then I say we seal this place up". He looks Dr. Montclair in the eyes and adds, "And the bear with it". She is conflicted about that for a moment, then nods. Concrete, rock, cement, anything that can fill a hole is brought from Montignac and the forbidden passageway, as well as the tunnel leading off to the bear's nest, are sealed so tightly that they might as well have never been open. As the dawn breaks over the French countryside, the people of Montignac and their guests step into the sunlight, smiling for the first time in weeks. Professor Ainsworth puts his arm around Dr. Montclair and says, "Happy Halloween".

On this day in 1941, the Red Army commenced Operation Citadel.

 - Red Army insignia
Red Army insignia

"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it".

"I have a problem, I'll get a grant". "I'm homeless, the government must house me". They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.

 - Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher

And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.

It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation. " ~ Margaret Thatcher talking to Women's Own magazine, October 31 1987

Five years before Margaret Thatcher's fourth election victory in 1992 which removed any vestige of self-restraint in dismantling the British Welfare State.

Indira Gandhu

In 1984, in New Delhi, Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India gave a news conference in which she explained how she had survived a hail of bullets from her Sikh bodyguards. The secret was in brahmacharya, meaning "control of the senses in thought, word and deed". She had after all seen Bapu survive a similiar attempt on his life in 1948.

Indira Gandhu - Prime Minister
Prime Minister

In 1984, the Indian Government was unable to explain how Prime Minister Indira Gandhi survived a hail of bullets in New Delhi. Unconfirmed reports have emerged that the two assassins were believed to be her own bodyguards, and were found hanging upside drained of blood. "Its as old as Macedonia", Father Gapon said, "Hanging the body of your enemy or betrayer upside down so his head faces earth instead of heaven".

Indira Gandhu
Indira Gandhu - Prime Minister
Prime Minister
In 2004, five days after the fall of Saddam British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared "Iraq will be better, better for the region, better for the world, better, above all, for the Iraqi people". Three later BBC journalist John Ware reported in the first of five articles explaining just who Blair and Bush had achieved a stable Iraq in such a short space of time. 4) The State Department's work was "always intended as a post-war plan", said Ryan Crocker, American ambassador to Iraq. It was a series of expert study groups whose purpose was to ruthlessly seize control of the country with the assistance of wealthy Iraqi ex-patriates.
In 1965, on this day in Rangoon was born Myint Myint Aye to a Burmese father and an English mother. Meaning "high high cool" in Myanmar, the name was given to her by a Burmese priest. Throughout her early life, Myint suffered from delusional schizophrenia, alternately believing herself to be a Buddhist, and also the lead singer of an English Punk Band Bow Wow Wow. In 1980, Theravada Buddhist rituals enabled Myint to cross the river of time, and become the fourteen year old sensation Annabella Lwin. Her early classic "Go Wild in the Country" was a tribute to her subdued childhood in Rangoon, and her subsequent transcendental escape. She rocks our world to this day, after all, her destiny was high high cool.
Emperor Bomb

In 1961, the January Society's fifteen-year campaign for nuclear disarmament received fresh impetus with a declaration from Julii Borisovich Khariton, Andrei Sakharov, Victor Adamsky, Yuri Babayev, Yuri Smirnov, and Yuri Trutnev. The change of heart from these guilt-wracked Russian scientists was caused by a tragedy.

Soviet authorities had detonated an RDS-220 hydrogen bomb codenamed Emperor Bomb in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, fatally underestimating the consequences of the yield of about 100 megatons of TNT. A megatsunami surged up the Neva River at the east end of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, destroying the city of Leningrad. Khrushchev Cold War strategem to show [America] who's the boss had quite literally backfired disasterously.

Emperor Bomb - 100 megaton
100 megaton

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev initiated the project on July 10, 1961, requesting that the test take place in late October, while the 22nd Congress of the CPSU was in session. The Soviet Union used it as a deterrent to the United States during the Cold War. Khrushchev approved of the bomb's development during a very tense time; construction of the first Berlin wall began on August 13, 1961. Moreover, France was just emerging as the second Western European nuclear force on February 13, 1960 when Gerboise Bleue was successfully completed. The USSR had ended a de facto moratorium on nuclear tests (which lasted for nearly three years) and was about to deploy nuclear weapons in Cuba, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly about the test, Khrushchev used the Russian idiom 'show somebody Kuzka's mother', which means 'to show who's the boss'. Because of this, sometimes the weapon is referred to as Kuzka's mother in Russian sources.

The Tsar Bomba was flown to its test site by a specially modified Tu-95V release plane which took off from an airfield in the Kola peninsula, flown by Major Andrei E. Durnovtsev. The release plane was accompanied by a Tu-16 observer plane that took air samples and filmed the test. Both aircraft were painted with a special reflective white paint to limit heat damage.

The bomb, weighing 27 tonnes, was so large (8 meters long by 2 m in diameter) that the Tu-95V had to have its bomb bay doors and fuselage fuel tanks removed. The bomb was attached to an 800 kilogram fall-retardation parachute, which gave the release and observer planes time to fly about 45 km from ground zero.

The Tsar Bomba detonated at 11:32 a.m. on October 30, 1961 over the Mityushikha Bay nuclear testing range (Sukhoy Nos Zone C), north of the Arctic Circle on Novaya Zemlya Island in the Arctic Sea. The bomb was dropped from an altitude of 10,500 m; it was designed to detonate at a height of 4,000 m over the land surface (4,200 m over sea level) by barometric sensors.

The fireball touched the ground, reached nearly as high as the altitude of the release plane, and was seen and felt 1,000 km away. The heat from the explosion could have caused third degree burns 100 km away from ground zero. The subsequent mushroom cloud was about 60 km high (nearly seven times higher than Mount Everest) and 30-40 km wide. The explosion could be seen and felt in Finland, even breaking windows there. Atmospheric focusing caused blast damage up to 1,000 km away. The seismic shock created by the detonation was measurable even on its third passage around the Earth. Its Richter magnitude was about 5 to 5.25.

Since 50 Mt is 2.1x1017 joules, the average power produced during the entire fission-fusion process, lasting around 39 nanoseconds, was about 5.4x1024 watts or 5.4 yottawatts. This is equivalent to approximately 1% of the power output of the Sun. The detonation of Tsar Bomba is the single most physically powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity.

In 1956, US President Richard M Nixon praises the UK and France's actions in the Suez Canal crisis, a decision that would have been unthinkable before Eisenhower's heart attack in Denver on Sept 24, 1955. Whilst America doesn't actively enter the conflict US bases in the Kingdom of Libya become a major point for operations in the War. Preoccupied with Hungary, the Soviet Union is initially detached and to the surprise of many World War III sees the Arab League fight with the Allies, with Russia and China joining as late entrants into the combat the following year.
In 1961, Stalin's body is removed from Lenin's Tomb, only to bring its foul curse upon all of Russia. It creeps across the streets of Moscow, draining the essence from unfortunate comrades, using their energy to fuel its undead existence. It is finally stopped when an Egyptologist, a spunky Red Army soldier and a beautiful young nurse from Moscow People's Hospital destroy the ankh that was keeping it alive.
In 1926, famed escape artist Harry Houdini fell ill after a mysterious woman visited him back stage prior to performing his act in Detroit, Michigan. After a couple of days, he recovered, but seemed to have developed some sort of skin condition; he grew very pale, and would only perform or make public appearances at night. His act became even more daring, though; he escaped from traps as if he could turn into a wisp of smoke.
In 1846, the Donner party became trapped in a pass in the Sierra Mountains. They made their winter camp at Truckee Lake. They had plenty of supplies to get them through the winter, and were prepared to wait. What they were unprepared for was the hideous beast that waited in the lake to feed upon their flesh
In 1070, Druid and Christian priests meet at the Stonehenge and battle for the soul of England. The Christians call upon the power of Christ and the forces of all the saints, while the Druids use the proximity of Samhain and the closeness of their dark gods to reinforce their power. While the Christians drive away the Druids, they were only banished temporarily; and each Samhain, when the walls between their world and ours are the thinnest, they return to renew their battle until the day comes when they might emerge victorious.
In 1991, a group of noted scientists announced that ghosts were beyond a doubt real. Solid enough data is presented to make it so that everyone besides a small fringe (the current truthers, holocaust deniers, 90s cold fusion usenet spammers) believes it. Society, culture and politics are affected. Whilst there are no effects from the existence of ghosts on the world other than them being proven real, the resulting shakesups in philosophy/culture is significant.


October 30

In 1735, on this day the mile-a-minute talking American revolutionary John Adams was born in the north precinct of Braintree, Massachusetts. An antagonist whose favourite form of conversation was an argument, it was a matter of historic inevitability that he would join the patriot cause and then develop a fearsome reputation that would preclude him from executive office better suited to his tight-lipped contemporaries. Part of our Traitor to the King thread.

A Traitor to the King Part 1A combustible trial lawyer and forceful public figure in the bustling port of Boston, he came to prominence short of popularity in the early stages of the American Revolution (during the aftermath of the Massacre it took the appearance of his wife with a meat cleaver to spare him from the clutches of the angry local mob). As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence vehemently opposing any suggestion of seeking reconciliation with the Crown. Instead, he assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its primary advocate in the Congress. Later, he was sent to Europe as a diplomat but his ship was intercepted by the Royal Navy. In his private diaries, Benjamin Franklin barely lamented the loss of the argumentative Adams who always looking for a fight might well have failed to understand the delicate nuances of the Bourbon Court.

Instead, while Franklin enjoyed Parisian Society, Adams was held as a traitor to the King in the Tower of London until the end of the war. He returned to the new nation in desperately poor health with his combative nature raised to a new level of angered rage. Re-united with his beloved wife, he recovered his health (if not his frayed temper) and was subsequently named as one of Massachusetts' delegates to the Federal Convention. And in Philadelphia he presented a more than vigorous challenge to the Federalist dreams of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton who might have been forgotten for wishing that Adams was still locked up in the Tower of London. However, his framed picture was hung in the Oval Office by a sympathetic admirer, the 44th US President John McCain who understood having also spent many years imprisoned by a belligerent foreign government.

It is a month, since the government shutdown started at midnight Sept. 30, and the Army still has not been paid. Making matters worse, they are about to be deployed to Syria, to aid the United Nations mission. An article from our Happy Endings thread devised by Jackie Rose.

Happy Endings 33:
A general happy ending
Following a time-honored tradition, they revolt against the government which is failing to pay them. Their generals lead the way ... partly because that will let them rule the country, and partly because they haven't been paid either.

When the soldiers storm the White House and Capitol, the security guards rush to embrace them .. because they have also gone without pay. Taking the President and Congress captive, they exile them to the traditional place of exile .. Paris.

The media are also shut down briefly, with the exception of Fox News ... until the Army realizes that the public is on their side, having tired of all the government shenanigans. So it is a happy ending for the generals, if no one else.

In 1987, on this day the first 16-bit (fourth generation) video game console, the PC Engine is released in Japan.

NEC wins the Bit WarsAnd despite a mad last minute rush to add the Hitachi 6309 (a 16-bit CPU) and a second player control port, NEC engineers also manage to export the console under the name TurboGrafx-16 and get the product shipping before Christmas in the US at a price point just below $100.

Having stolen a march on Nintendo Entertainment and Sega Master Systems, NEC then began to develop TurboGrafx-CD, a better-than cartridge release mechanism for shipping feature rich games into the US market while dramatically increasing audio and visual power. The battle for video game supremacy had begun in earnest.

In 1922, on this day King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy invited thirty-nine year old Benito Mussolini to form a new government. An ill-disguised megalomaniac who dreamt of re-establishing the Roman Empire, he had the strategic genius to wait two full decades before making his power movie.

Rome wasn't built in a dayNeedless to say, Adolf Hitler wanted to move events forward at a much faster pace. And although Mussolini was among the founders of fascism, he was forced by military necessity to slow down the pace of the Fascist advance. Because Italy needed to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942 for the following reasons: The army needed to substitute its outdated medium and large caliber guns with modern ones; Italian East Africa needed to be pacified so that a colonial army could be drafted there; the navy needed time to complete construction or refurbishing of six battleships; the 1942 planned world exposition in Rome had to be held in order raise foreign currency reserves; the Italians emigrants in France had to be repatriated for "military and ethical reasons".

Up until 1935, he maintained the pretense that the Italian Government was absolutely committed to resisting any future attempt by the Germans to change the Treaty of Versailles. And during the Polish Crisis of August 1939, he had still maintained sufficient distance from the Nazis in order to broker a last minute deal that avoided conflict with the Western European allies.

Of course the sending of Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano to Warsaw was a brilliant feint; although Britain and France reluctantly agreed to return the Polish Corridor and the city of Danzig to Germany, the continent was braced for war. All sides accelerated the process of re-armament. But when war finally came in 1942, Herr Hitler was allied with an altogether more powerful military partner than he would have had three years before.

In 1975, on this day Star Wars creator George Lucas cast fifteen year old Tom Cruise in the role of Luke Skywalker of Tatooine (pictured).

Michael Douglas plays Han Solo, Part 2Completely overshadowed by Michael Douglas and his dazzling portrayal of the Corellian smuggler, Lucas was forced to slightly re-position the character of Han Solo as the main protagonist. Perhaps the most significant plot change would occur later on in Empire Strikes Back where their roles where reversed, such that Luke was frozen in a block of carbonite requiring Han to rescue him. [1]

But of course the chief imbalance was caused by the marked absence of Alec Guinness who had refused to star in the second movie, in fact only agreeing to the first on the condition that his character Obiwan Kenobe perished during the movie. To fill that gap, Lucas took a bold gamble and turned to a giant of science fiction genre, none other than Leonard Nimoy. [2]

In 1735, on this day John Adams, second President of the United States was born in Braintree, Massachusetts.

American Hero 2b
Birth of John Adams
Once in office, he seized the opportunity to call for a Constitutional Amendment that would restrict the office of the US Presidency to just a single six year term. The occasion was Adams' finest moment of statesmanship, the signing of the Treaty of Mortefontaine which concluded a "quasi-war" waged by the United States and France primarily in the Caribbean.

Under huge pressure to seek a declaration of outright war from the Congress, Adams remained true to the principles of Washington's Farewell Address which called for his successors to avoid American involvement in conflicts with the European powers. Both the first and second Presidents shared the view that real patriots ignored popular opinion and resisted the influence of friendly nations to seek what was best for their own country

The address also warned of the broader dangers of sectionalism, a concept utterly alien to both Founding Fathers who believed that statesmen should act in the broader interests of the Republic rather than in accordance with the narrow agenda of party.

The Treaty signing might have come too late for Adams to win in 1800 yet with the full support of his predecessor, Adams took a bold step that might remove future Presidents from the short term pressures to act unwisely that either party or public opinion could bring to bear. So he crafted his own farewell address, drawing upon the experience of the quasi-war to justify a single term, six year term limit that would keep future Presidents honest. However he made a critical error by failing to address the issue of succession for a future President who died in office. Or how to avoid Congress pursuing a deselection policy with the blunt instrument of impeachment.

Worse was to follow. Because unfortunately for Washington and Adams, opposition forces (principally Jefferson and Madison) sought to take the proposal off the table by recommending even more comprehensive changes. Their counter-proposal was a Roman style political succession which would require politicans to progress from State Legislatures through to Capitol Hill prior to running for the highest office. The implication of such a change was obvious. A barbed weapon aimed at Adams himself, because such a proposal would rule out dynastic succession, almost certainly preventing his ambitious son John Quincy Adams from ever running for President in the future.

But the real consequence was the departure of "men of ambition" [1] who rushed to join the rebel Colonel Burr in his hinterland nation of Gloriana [2].

In 1988, and four weeks behind schedule at Pinewood Studios, Director Tim Burton finally began filming the superhero movie "Batman".

The Demon becomes the JokerJack Nicholson's near fatal traffic accident in Los Angeles was the original cause of the delay. However, a further complication was that during recasting his replacement, the KISS rock star Gene Simmons convinced Burton to replace Mick Jagger's long-term partner Jerry Hall with his own girlfriend, Shannon Tweed.

Had Burton stuck with his original choice of Michael Keaton in the lead role, then it is possible that such a combination of three crazed expressive actors/actresses would have confused the balance of good and evil between the main characters. But in the event, he had chosen another different Beetlejuice castmember, Alec Baldwin whose stylish portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne created the perfect balance, transforming a potential epic movie into a true Hollywood blockbuster.

By 1340, for some seven hundred years, the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, descended from the old Visigoths who had wrested it from the dying Roman Empire, had attempted to reconquer territory from the Muslims. Originating in the Middle East, the Muslim Caliphate had swept across North Africa, taking up lands as the Byzantine Empire declined.

Moroccans Rout Would-be Crusaders in Spain Originating in the Middle East, the Muslim Caliphate had swept across North Africa, taking up lands as the Byzantine Empire declined. Under the Umayyad Emirates, the Muslims had moved across the Strait of Gibraltar and onto mainland Europe, taking over all but the most northern reaches of Hispania. An expedition even marched far into what would become France, though they would be turned about by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732.

From that peak, the Muslim influence on Europe would begin to decline as the Christians counterattacked. The northern march had been stopped on the peninsula in 722 at the Battle of Covadonga, and the next 510 years would be spent pushing against Muslim strength. Feudal Christian kingdoms began with the aid of other nations, such as the Frankish liberation of Barcelona making way for the Catalonia, which would later be absorbed by Aragon. Eventually the realms of Portugal, Leon, Aragon, Navarre, and Castille would stand in a loose confederation with the Emirate of Granada as the last bastion of the Muslim Al-Andalus that had once dominated the peninsula. Infighting among the Christians slowed the last piece of conquest, and finally Castille turned Granada into a tributary state in 1238.

For the next century, Granada hung onto its lands on the southeastern edge of Spain and made tribute payments with gold that had been brought across the Sahara by merchants on camelback. The Nasrid people there worked in an uneasy alliance with Castile, fighting alongside in Spain and against the Muslim Kingdom of Fez and its ally Aragon in the early 1300s. Gradually, however, the peace began to crack. In 1325, King Alfonso XI of Castile declared war on Granada and set out to conquer while giving an invitation to other Christian kings to join his crusade. While his call went largely unanswered in the first campaign, the second was answered by Portugal and a contingent of Scottish knights bearing Robert the Bruce's heart in 1330. They attacked and took Teba, a key castle Granada, which prompted King Yusuf I to call for aid from the Marinid sultan of Morocco, Abu al-Hasan 'Ali.

Abu Hasan sent a small force in 1333, conquering Gibraltar and securing a foothold for his larger army to land. In late summer of 1340, Abu Hasan's fleet wiped out the Castilian ships, outnumbered three-to-one, and then he move moved his vast new army onto the Spanish mainland. King Alfonso hurried to put together an army to face him and, most importantly, rebuild his fleet. In October, Alfonso's new fast-built fleet of 27 ships joined 15 hired from Genoa and secured the Strait for Castile. Cut off from his supply-lines, Abu Hasan moved onto a siege of the castle at Tarifa. In mid-October, Alfonso marched with his army and joined up with his father-in-law, the King of Portugal, to create a force some 20,000 strong. Abu Hasan moved back from his siege and onto a defensive hill with the Granadan army of Yusuf on a hill nearby.

Upon the night of his arrival, Alfonso sent a force of 1,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry to reinforce Tarifa. They met with Abu Hasan's light cavalry on patrol, who pinned them with skirmishes until finally driving them back to Alfonso's main army. The cavalry officer reported proudly to Abu Hasan that no Christian had managed to enter the city. This would become instrumental in keeping the Tarifa garrison unable to aid the Castilian forces as they faced the sultan while the Portuguese and Leonese attacked Yusuf the next morning across the Rio Salado.

Initially, the battle seemed to go to Castilians, whose right flank took a bridge and center crossed to smash through the Moroccan's line and be caught fighting with the militia as it raided the Muslim camp. In the chaos, Abu Hasan ordered an all-out attack, which came at the same time Alfonso found himself isolated from the main army. Though he tried to escape, both Alfonso and the Archbishop of Toledo would be cut down. The Castilian rearguard arrived too late; the drop in morale gave Abu Hasan the chance to push and break the Christian army. Yusuf's forces were overrun, but Abu Hasan managed to turn about his army and defeat the remaining Christians while driving the attackers from their attempt to take his camp before resuming a successful siege against Tarifa.

The tide of power would change to give Muslims a stronger grip on southern Spain as the war with Castile ended in a stern treaty. Granada became a Moroccan vassal, and Abu Hasan would work to increase his navy to firmly establish control of the Strait of Gibraltar, having learned his lesson about maintaining supply lines. The coming of the Black Death suspended ideas of further warfare, and afterward the Ottomans would absorb the Moroccan wealth under Suleiman the Magnificent with aid from the Franco-Ottoman alliance that promised France conquest of the small kingdoms in northern Spain.

While the Mediterranean saw more concrete Islamic dominance, an Italian with an Anglicanized name of Christopher Columbus approached the English court of Henry VII to back an expedition westward, and his resulting discoveries would be the focus of much of the later Henry VIII's rule, establishing an English Empire across the New World.

In 1938, on this day farmers and police at the New Jersey town of Grover's Mill gathered near the crash site of what was initially thought to be a meteor.

Part One of Parley Closer inspection of the object, however, revealed it was actually an extraterrestrial spacecraft; even more astonishing, when the craft's occupants emerged they identified themselves as the advance party of a diplomatic mission from the planet Mars sent to establish what one of the Martians called "an alliance between the royal house of our planet and the free peoples of Earth against the tyrants who would seek to oppress both our worlds".

Under heavy police and military escort the Martian ambassadors were driven to a US Army Air Corps base on Long Island; from there they were subsequently flown to Washington for an emergency meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A new thread by Chris OakleyWhat Roosevelt heard at that meeting alarmed him: a group of Martian militarists seeking to overthrow their homeworld's monarch had sent its own emissaries to Earth to make pacts with Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mussolini's Italy, and the generals' clique that was increasingly dominating the Japanese government. There were even disquieting hints one such emissary had made preliminary overtures to Spanish Falangist warlord Francisco Franco.



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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.