Cocaine over the Counter, circa 1890s.

In the latter half of the 19th Century, especially in the late 1890s did our predecessors use these products to calm themselves down or help the little kiddies get over their nagging little toothaches and sleep better at night time.
Obviously before Bayer invented Aspirin (from coal tar) they specialised in more exotic drugs.
Cocaine was originally added to Coca Cola as a pick me up but discontinued fairly quickly.
Cocaine was also used for toothache and other problems that resulted from surgery and medical treatment.
It quickly became a substance of reliance and then of abuse.

Mel Brooks ‘Young Frankenstein’ 1974.

(Clockwise from left) Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder, Teri Garr and Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein, 1974 | Getty Images.
Mel Brooks hilarious homage to 1930s Hollywood.
An affectionate, monochrome homage / parody of the old Universal Studios Frankenstein – especially Son of Frankenstein (1939).
It has Peter Boyle channelling Boris Karloff; it reassembles the original laboratory equipment from the 1931 version, discovered in a storeroom; it features Marty Feldman as hunchbacked assistant Igor and Madeline Kahn as the scientist’s fiancée / the Bride; and has Dr Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder – ‘That’s Fronkensteen’) memorably performing, with his creature, the Fred Astaire number Puttin’ on the Ritz in white tie and tails.
Mel Brooks, who co-wrote the often hilarious script with Gene Wilder and who also directed, said of the film – tongue firmly in cheek: ‘It’s about womb-envy, and the mob’s ignorance and fear of genius. So it’s a very Promethean work…’
The look of the film successfully evokes 1930s Hollywood. Young Frankenstein was transformed by Brooks into a stage musical in 2007, with a revised version in 2017.
Uniquely, the film has a happy ending – the Monster settling down with Frankenstein’s ex.
Read the Full Article via BBC Arts – Books Features – How Frankenstein and his Creature conquered the movies

The Strange Death of Edgar Allan Poe,1849.

The last days of the short, drunken, quarrelsome and unhappy life of Edgar Allan Poe were almost as grim as one of his own macabre stories.
Drink was Poe’s nemesis, allied with poverty after his rich guardian cut him off with nothing, his inability to hold down a job and the tragedy of his young wife Virginia, or ‘Sissy’ as he called her.
She married him in 1834 when she was only thirteen and he was twenty-seven, and already a heavy drinker. In 1842 she fell ill with tuberculosis and the prospect of her inevitable death wore desperately hard on Poe’s nerves. He took refuge from the strain in the bottle. In 1847 Sissy finally died.
Desperate to find a replacement, Poe pursued virtually every woman who came in view.
In 1848 he considered proposing marriage to Elmira Shelton, a widow with whom he had fallen in love years before when he was a university student. Her father had prevented a match between them then because the couple were both still in their teens.
However, there now appeared on the scene Sarah Helen Whitman, a wan, blue-eyed literary spinster, who lived in Providence, Rhode Island, and floated through life in silks, lace, wafting veils and a cloud of fumes from the ether with which she dosed herself for a real or imaginary heart condition.
Helen Whitman, who had long been devouring every published line of Poe with what she called ‘horrified fascination and avidity’, sent the author a poem of homage, an adaptation of his own ‘The Raven’.
He sent her a poem back (one he had originally written to someone else) and in September he went to Providence to meet her.
Within a few days he told her he loved her and pressed her to marry him. She said she needed time to think it over and sent him a succession of unsatisfactory letters until eventually Poe tried to kill himself with an overdose of laudanum.
Helen accepted him in November, but only on condition that he stopped drinking. He tried, but she knew he was failing the test and one day in December he arrived at her house the worse for wear.
The next day they had a scene, she inhaled enough ether to knock her senseless and her mother sent him packing.
‘My life seems wasted,’ Poe wrote miserably in the spring of 1849, ‘the future looks a dreary blank.’ He was forty years old. In the summer he went to Philadelphia, plunged into an orgy of drinking and suffered terrifying hallucinations.
‘For ten days,’ he wrote, ‘I was totally deranged.’ Eventually he managed to borrow enough money to get to Richmond in July.
There he proposed to Elmira, enrolled himself in the Richmond branch of the Sons of Temperance and bought a wedding ring, though he remained in a deeply gloomy state of mind.
Whether Elmira would really have married him is in doubt, but near the end of September he set off on a trip to New York, leaving Richmond for Baltimore on the first leg of the journey.
After meeting some Baltimore friends for a convivial glass of whisky, he disappeared for six days.
No one knows what happened to him until he was found in an Irish tavern named Gunners Hall on October 3rd, stupefied with drink and wearing badly fitting trousers, a soiled and crumpled shirt, a dirty hat and an expression of vacant stupidity.
It looked as if he had sold his own clothes to buy drink. He was taken to the Washington Medical College hospital in a carriage and arrived at five o’clock in the afternoon in a stupor. By the early morning hours, he was delirious, pale and sweating profusely, and talking incessantly to imaginary things on the walls of the room.
He seems to have remained in this state until three in the morning of October 7th, a Sunday, when he appeared to relax, said quietly ‘Lord, help my poor soul’, and died.
He was buried with little ado in Baltimore’s Presbyterian Cemetery. Hearing the news in France, Charles Baudelaire commented that Poe’s death was ‘almost a suicide, a suicide prepared for a long time’.
via The Death of Edgar Allan Poe | History Today.

‘Place-Hacking’ Paris & the UK.

Place Hacking

Saint Sulpice Church, Paris
They call themselves “place hackers”—urban adventurers who get a thrill (and bragging rights) from exploring forbidden spaces: old military bases, sewer systems, decommissioned hospitals, power stations—even the odd skyscraper under construction.
Just like backpackers, they have an ethical code: no vandalism or theft, take only photographs, leave only footprints.
Place Hacking
Forth Rail Bridge, Scotland.
“The idea behind urban exploration is revealing what’s hidden,” explains Bradley Garrett, author of the recent book Explore Everything: Place Hacking the City.
“It’s about going into places that are essentially off limits and, because they are off limits, have been relatively forgotten.” The goal is not just to explore, he adds, but to document and share as well.
Place Hacking King’s Reach Tower, London
See more Images via These Beautiful “Place-Hacking” Photos Will Give You an Adrenaline Rush | Mother Jones.

The Myth of the Kaali Craters.

imageContributor: Trevor (Editor)
Kaali, on the Estonian island of Saaremaa, is the site of the last giant meteorite impact to occur in a densely populated region.
The landscape that the collision left in its aftermath has been the subject of many mythological tales and may have been home to a mysterious ancient cult.
About 7,500 years ago, a huge rock from space came hurtling toward the Earth. Several kilometers above the Earth’s surface, the meteorite broke into pieces from the pressure and heat of the atmosphere.
The resulting chunks collided into Saaremaa with the force of a small nuclear bomb, wreaking havoc on the landscape and possibly claiming numerous victims.
The explosion left nine total craters, now known as the Kaali Meteorite Crater Field.
Some of these craters are quite small: one measures only twelve meters across and one meter deep.
But the most interesting of the group is the largest crater, a gently sloping bowl filled with stagnant, murky water.
Simply known as Kaali crater, the largest crater (which measures 110 meters across) is believed to have been a sacred site for many centuries, in part due to its cosmic origin.
Surrounding Kaali crater are the remains of an immense stone wall from the Late Bronze Age, stronger than any similar structures in the region and providing clues to the crater’s use by ancient peoples.


Archaeologists believe it is possible that the wall served as a stronghold for an ancient cult settlement.
As evidenced by the unusually large quantity of animal bones found within the wall’s borders, the Kaali crater lake was not only a watering place but also a place of sacrifice.
While it is known that Estonians have made live offerings in the past (for good harvests and other reasons), one curious aspect of the site’s animal remains is that some date back only to the 1600s, long after the Church forbade such rituals.
Read on via Kaali Meteorite Crater Field | Atlas Obscura.

Washing the Lions at Tower of London, 1856.

Tower-of-London-april-foo-007 An invitation to a bogus event at the Tower of London for April Fool’s Day 1856.
Maev Kennedy
The proud recipients of an invitation sent out in 1856 must have felt they were being called to witness a magnificent event that joined history, royalty and a superb setting – British pomp and circumstance at its best.
Signed by one Herbert de Grassen, evidently a “senior warden”, sealed with an imposing blob of crimson wax, and with the stern warning “It is requested that no Gratuities will be given to the Wardens on any account”, it summoned recipients to witness “the Annual Ceremony of Washing The Lions” at the Tower of London.
The sharp-eyed might just have spotted the date: Monday 1 April. History, alas, does not record how many missed that crucial detail and arrived at the royal menagerie at the tower.
The invitation survives in the archives of the tower and, although the original is too fragile to display, a replica will be on view when a new exhibition opens at the White Tower, the London home of the Royal Armouries museum, on Saturday.
It deals with the many institutions that operated from within the tower’s massive walls, including the Ordnance Office, the Ordnance Survey, the Royal Mint, the Record Office and the Royal Observatory.
The tower’s imperious black ravens are the last survivors of the menagerie which was kept there from at least the 14th century, stocked with many gifts from other countries, including lions, leopards and a polar bear which had a special licence to fish for its supper in the Thames.
Earlier in the 19th century – before the date of the invitation – the lions and other animals were moved to the new Regent’s Park zoo.
via Who was invited to the annual washing of the lions at the Tower of London? | UK news | The Guardian.