Herbert Armstrong, England’s Persistent Poisoner.

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Persistence is a trait often associated with officers of the law. But 19th century lawyer Herbert Armstrong found a far deadlier use for his doggedness by poisoning his wife and a rival solicitor. There’s just one catch: the man was no criminal mastermind.
Herbert Armstrong and his wife, Kitty, had two girls and one boy. They lived in the tranquil village of Hay-on-Wye near his law practice, Cheese & Armstrong.
Herbert, a well-liked man and an avid gardener, became a captain in the Volunteer Force.
He served in World War I from 1914 to 1918 and was referred to as “Major Armstrong” after the war.
The family made the ideal suburban unit – yet trouble brewed beneath the surface. Herbert reportedly had a wandering eye that led to extramarital affairs. Kitty, meanwhile, bullied her husband in public.
According to one researcher, she often called Herbert home early from parties on nights where he needed a bath.
Herbert’s only relief came from his work in the garden. It was at this time that he dreamed up another application for the weed poison in his shed.
In the spring of 1920, Kitty was struck ill. By August, she was delusional, with fever and heart irregularities. The family physician, Dr. Thomas Hincks, sent Kitty to a mental asylum near Gloucester, where doctors studied her mysterious ailment.
Throughout, Herbert appeared a doting husband, spending time at her bedside and expressing concern to her doctor and friends.
Read on via Herbert Armstrong: England’s Persistent Poisoner.

Brave Ladies in Time.

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Top Photo: Lady wheeling her Blitz Proof Pram in London, 1940.
Second Photo: Ladies having the length of their swim tunics checked during the 1920s in the U.S.
Third Photo: Young lady with her dolly after a Blitz raid London, 1940.
Final Photo: A lady who actually survived going over Niagara Falls in that Barrel.
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MI5 spied on Charlie Chaplin for FBI to ban him from U.S.

Charlie Chaplin and Claire Bloom in the 1952 film Limelight. The following year he was banned from returning to the US and settled in Switzerland. Photograph: Allstar/United Artists/Sportsphoto.
MI5 opened a file on Charlie Chaplin while he was being hounded by J Edgar Hoover’s FBI for alleged communist sympathies.
The FBI, which described the star of Modern Times and The Great Dictator as one of “Hollywood’s parlour Bolsheviks”, asked MI5 for information to help get him banned from the US.
The results, including information gathered through eavesdropping, are contained in an extensive personal MI5 file released on the National Archives.
“Chaplin has given funds to communist front organisations … He has been involved in paternity and abortion cases,” an MI5 liaison officer in Washington warned in October 1952. MI5 noted that a decade earlier Chaplin had told the Los Angeles branch of the National Council of American Soviet Friendship: “There is a great deal of good in communism. We can use the good and segregate the bad.”
Papers have been withheld from Chaplin’s MI5 file to protect the names of informants though there are unexplained, probably inconsequential, references to Jimmy Reid, the communist Scottish trade unionist; Larry Adler, the harmonica virtuoso who left his native US where he was branded a communist and blacklisted; and Humphrey Lyttelton, the Eton-educated jazz musician who once described himself a “romantic socialist”.
MI5 concluded that Chaplin was not a security threat.
Source: MI5 spied on Charlie Chaplin after FBI asked for help to banish him from US | UK news | The Guardian

Free Haircuts for the Homeless, New York City.

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Mark Bustos, a hair stylist in New York, spends his Sundays (the only day he has off of work) walking the city’s streets giving haircuts to the homeless – people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.
Bustos got the idea after visiting family in the Phillippines in 2012 and renting a barber to give haircuts to needy local children.
He says that his most memorable “client” was a man named Jemar Banks;
“He didn’t have much to say throughout the whole process, until after I showed him what he looked like when I was done…The first thing he said to me was, ‘Do you know anyone that’s hiring?’“
via Every Sunday, This New York Hair Stylist Gives Free Haircuts To The Homeless | Bored Panda.

Tiny homes for the Homeless, Gosford, New South Wales.

An artist’s representation of tiny homes to be constructed in Gosford. Photograph: Tiny Homes Foundation.
When pious architects choose to direct their talents toward a higher calling, they tend to do so in the form of towering cathedral spires, awe-inspiring sermon halls and grandiose vaulted ceilings.
Derek Mah, an associate at NBRS Architecture, went for something a little more humble. At a Sunday sermon about two years ago at Community Church Hornsby, on the northern fringes of Sydney, he was approached about using his skills not to devise great big buildings in the name of God, but tiny houses for the homeless.
The suggestion came from a friend in the congregation – David Woolridge, who, as Mah put it “has always been passionate about trying to get guys off the street and helping them out. He came up to me and said he’d gotten an idea about how to solve homelessness”.
It is a vision about to be realised in Gosford, on the New South Wales central coast, where three to four “tiny homes” that each take up just 14 square metres will be completed next month as the first project of Woolridge’s Tiny Homes Foundation, designed in partnership with NBRS Architecture.“Think of the house as a shoebox,”
The word “shoebox” isn’t usually a selling point in real estate parlance, but Mah uses it in this case with pride, given the long-term objective of the project is to enable housing to be provided to as many of Australia’s estimated 105,000 homeless people as possible in a country where building isn’t cheap, and land is eye-wateringly expensive.
Each tiny house costs less than $30,000 to deliver, and the small size of the building means it can be squeezed onto excess council-owned land not suitable for conventional housing, at potentially no cost.
Read on via ‘A shoebox that feels bigger than it is’: tiny homes for the homeless | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

Unusual Deaths from the 1920s.

1920: Ray “Chappie” Chapman, shortstop for the Cleveland Indians baseball team, was killed when a submarine ball thrown by Carl Mays hit him in the temple. Chapman collapsed at the plate, and died about 12 hours later. He remains the only major league baseball player killed by a pitched ball.
1920: Dan Andersson, a Swedish author, died of cyanide poisoning while staying at Hotel Hellman in Stockholm. The hotel staff had failed to clear the room after using hydrogen cyanide against bed bugs.
1920: Alexander I, King of the Hellenes, was taking a walk in the Royal Gardens, when his dog was attacked by a monkey. The King attempted to defend his dog, receiving bites from both the monkey and its mate. The diseased animals’ bites caused sepsis and Alexander died three weeks later.
1923: Frank Hayes, a jockey at Belmont Park, New York, died of a heart attack during his first race. His mount finished first with his body still attached to the saddle, and he was only discovered to be dead when the horse’s owner went to congratulate him.
1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, died allegedly because of the so-called King Tut’s Curse after a mosquito bite on his face, which he cut while shaving, became seriously infected with erysipelas, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia.
1925: Zishe (Siegmund) Breitbart, a circus strongman and Jewish folklore hero, died after demonstrating he could drive a spike through five one-inch (2.54 cm) thick oak boards using only his bare hands. He accidentally pierced his knee and the rusted spike caused an infection which led to fatal blood poisoning.
1926: Phillip McClean, 16, from Queensland, Australia became the only person documented to have been killed by a cassowary. After encountering the bird on their family property near Mossman in April, McClean and his brother decided to kill it with clubs. When McClean struck the bird it knocked him down, then kicked him in the neck, opening a 1.25 cm (0.5 in) long cut in one of his main blood vessels. Though the boy managed to get back on his feet and run away, he collapsed a short while later and died from the hemorrhage.
1926: Harry Houdini, the famous American escape artist, was punched in the stomach by an amateur boxer. Though this had been done with Houdini’s permission, complications from this injury may have caused him to die days later, on 31 October 1926. It was later determined that Houdini died of a ruptured appendix, though it is contested as to whether or not the punches actually caused the appendicitis.

1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of a broken neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.

Source: List of unusual deaths | encyclopedia article by TheFreeDictionary