Hidden Histories

10/31/14
Author: Daniel Rolph

For centuries, soldiers serving in various battles have believed and stated to their comrades-in-arms that they were about to die, or would within the near future. Hundreds of such accounts exist for the Civil War era of United States history.  For the most part, such statements are common to men in battle, but enough well-documented and detailed narratives exist to convince any skeptic that such beliefs are not always figments of imagination or products of irrational fears.

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7/25/14
Author: Daniel Rolph

The late biologist and prolific writer, Ivan T. Sanderson (whose papers are housed at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia), was a truly eclectic Renaissance man. Sanderson coined the term “OOPARTS” (Out-of-Place-Artifacts) for the various anomalous objects – human , animal, artificial – which  have been found throughout the Earth’s strata or in geological formations where they should not be located, according to conventional scientific theory.

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6/27/14
Author: Daniel Rolph

Various newspapers published within Philadelphia and elsewhere carried the account of one of the most famous battles of World War I, which transpired on August 23, 1914, in Belgium's Hainaut Province. The Battle of Mons was the first battle fought by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) against fellow Europeans since 1855. Modern weaponry - from machine guns to howitzers - were utilized, as well as traditional infantry, but also the use of centuries old cavalry-based forces, involving thousands of horses in comat.

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3/28/14
Author: Daniel Rolph

Many people have enjoyed the cinematic box office successes known as the Jason Bourne series of films, such as the espionage thriller, the Bourne Identity.  However, most individuals are unaware that the movies have a partial historical basis , connected to a mysterious individual residing at the time in nineteenth-century Pennsylvania, named Ansel Bourne.

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2/11/14
Author: Daniel Rolph


Soldiers during the Civil War, like soldiers in all wars, have frequently adopted various species of pets. There are various reasons for this such as it may remind them of home, or aid them in taking their minds off the horrifying aspects of war itself. Mascots certainly played such a role during America’s worst internal conflict, and the animals revered by regiments ranged from the typical dog to the non-typical toad!

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10/30/13
Author: Daniel Rolph

Earlier this year, a Huff/Post/YouGov poll revealed that 45% of Americans believe in ghosts, or in the spirits of the dead, and that those revenants can and have often returned to certain places and situations known in life. Though many are skeptical of such beliefs, Carl Jung, the famed psychologist, summed it up quite well in 1919, when he remarked that, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.”

Topics: 19th century
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8/29/13
Author: Daniel Rolph

Hugh Purvis, a native of Philadelphia, along with John Andrews of York County, Pennsylvania, were two of fifteen United States sailors and marines to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their involvement in a Korean War. This is not to be confused with the Korean War, which transpired from 1950 to 1953, in which the United States suffered over thirty-six thousand casualties.

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3/13/13
Author: Daniel Rolph

Gottlieb Mittelberger immigrated to Philadelphia from Germany in 1750 in search of the “American Dream.” He returned to Germany late in the year 1754, never to return. Afterward he published his memoir of his sojourn in America1. From the start, both his voyage to the New World, as well as his life in the American colonies, did not turn out the way he’d expected. Nor was he particularly thrilled with events he learned of during his stay in Pennsylvania.

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2/6/13
Author: Daniel Rolph

Recently the world watched with shock, or perhaps with humor, at the recent debacle in the Ukrainian Parliament when lawmakers literally got into a brawl with each other over an election. Fists were flying and punches landed on many a member that day in December of 2012. Though many viewers within the United States have seen, heard, or read many of the verbal salvos or accusations being hurled between members of the Senate or House of Representatives in the current political climate of Congress, they have not come to physical blows.

Topics: Politics
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1/9/13
Author: Daniel Rolph

As is demonstrated with the popularity of the present movie The Hobbit and its literary and cinematic successor The Lord of the Rings series, as written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the western world is obsessed once again with dwarves and elves. Tolkien was a distinguished linguistic professor and specialist of Anglo-Saxon and Nordic literature. It is not surprising that the names borne by the dwarves in The Hobbit derive from Scandinavian mythology.

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