Harry Houdini Goes to Washington

Never before had a congressional hearing been described as “UPROARIOUS,” until master magician and escape artist Harry Houdini provided expert testimony in which he delivered a lively and compelling case against the supernatural. For years, Houdini had worked tirelessly to debunk spirit mediums who claimed to communicate with the dead. He viewed them as “ghost […]

Baseball Headlines & Heroes! Help Us ID Ten Players

How could my thoughts not turn to baseball on the day of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game? Plus it’s being played right here in Washington, DC. Plus it’s only a couple weeks after the opening of Baseball Americana, the major exhibit at the Library of Congress. My thoughts often turn to comics and newspapers […]

Mabel Stark: World Famous Trainer of Big Jungle Cats

What are you afraid of? “Subways!” Mabel Stark, renowned Bengal tiger trainer, told the New-York Tribune in 1922. “Trains roaring through the tunnel terrify me more than any beast I’ve ever met,” she said. Following a nervous breakdown, the former nurse sought a “simpler & easier” profession: training wild jungle cats for the big top.  […]

Royal Weddings

Why do we commoners get a kick out of royal weddings? Maybe it’s the garb: brides in white silk with laced veils, grooms decked out in full military dress. Or the pomp and circumstance: ancient rituals, gilded carriages, thousands of cheering spectators. Or it could be the simple desire to watch a fairy tale turn […]