The origin of two individuals shaking hands, as a sign of friendship, legal commitment or oath-taking, is lost in antiquity, though examples of it exist in both stone and illustration as far back as the 5th century B.C., in early Greece.
As I write these words, an attempt is being made to rescue thirty-three trapped miners, deep inside the San Jose gold and copper mine at Copiapo in the country of Chile. Plus, August 27 is the 47th anniversary of one of the most famous mining disasters and rescue operations to have occurred in Pennsylvania, which captured both the country and the world's attention, of which I'll shortly return and give a brief account.
Recently, within my other publication here at the Society, History Hits (which may be obtained free by subscription here), I wrote a short article with graphics entitled, "Antarctica: The Lost Continent." Writings of famed Antarctic explorers such as Charles Wilkes, Admiral Richard E.
An antiquated custom, which at one time was popular both in Europe and the United States, was the search for individuals who had drowned by using 'quicksilver,' an archaic term for the element mercury.
A few years ago, while standing at a bus stop, during a blustery, cloudy, dark and misty morning, one of four other individuals waiting with me, suddenly raised both fists in the air and exclaimed in a loud voice: "Come on Lord, come on you @*$!, Send your lightnin'! I don't care. Let's have it out!" Then he laughed maniacally.
Growing up in rural and small town Kentucky, I had the opportunity of having many pets during my formative years, from which I gained an appreciation for the 'animal kingdom.' One of the saddest memories of my childhood was the futile attempt of my sister and I to save with minature baby bottles, the lives of a number of newly born, hairless 'flying squirrels' who'd fallen from their nest, and were thus left to die by their parents who were unable to care for them on the ground.
Events in history can often be both bizarre and macabre. Such is the case of a widow of Kings County, New York, who purportedly "sold the head of her husband" to doctors, "between the period of his death and burial" in 1845.