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Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored

Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored

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by Juanita Rose Violini

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The Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored is a compendium of unexplained mysteries, paranormal phenomena, and incredible true tales that will amaze, confound, and remind you just how mysterious this world really is. An outstanding trivia and reference book for any lover of unusual lore, each day gives you an unexplained mystery, a quote,


The Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored is a compendium of unexplained mysteries, paranormal phenomena, and incredible true tales that will amaze, confound, and remind you just how mysterious this world really is. An outstanding trivia and reference book for any lover of unusual lore, each day gives you an unexplained mystery, a quote, and a Secret Power for you to practice. Richly illustrated throughout. A magical daily read.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This delightful, curiosity-rousing guide offers 365 international tales of the unexplained, paranormal, and bizarre. And unlike a conventional reference resource, the tales are organized not by theme or location but as a calendar, with a story per day. Events alleged to have occurred on specific dates correspond with the appropriate date in the book. Accompanied by whimsical line drawings by Violini (blogger, mysterytrivia.wordpress.com), entries close with thematically relevant quotes, eccentric goals, and activities to help achieve them. While this work does not offer scholarly explanation, journalistic inquiry, or scientific foundation, it is still a genuinely absorbing, entertaining read.

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By Juanita Rose Violini

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2009 Juanita Rose Violini
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-090-4


JANUARY 1 The Crystal Skull

On January 1, 1927, in British Honduras, seventeen-year-old Anna Mitchell-Hedges discovered an exquisite crystal skull in the dust beneath the altar of a Mayan temple, during an expedition led by her father, F. A. Mitchell-Hedges. The find was not mentioned in expedition reports; Anna later explained that if it had been included, the skull would have gone to a museum. Instead, the skull was returned to the Mayans. On the Mitchell-Hedges' departure, the Mayans made a gift of it to them. In the 1940s, the skull was auctioned at Sotheby's by Sydney Burney, who had received it as collateral against a loan. Mitchell-Hedges bought it back to pay off the loan and to establish legal ownership.

The Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull has attracted worldwide attention. In 1970 Hewlett-Packard Laboratories examined it and discovered that the skull has light pipes, which are similar to modern fiber optics. The eye sockets are concave lenses; the interior contains a ribbon prism and a tiny light tunnel. The "crystal," actually a quartz material, holds electrical energy and oscillates at a constant and precise frequency. Incredibly, it had been carved against the natural axis of the quartz without the quartz shattering, and a lack of microscopic scratches indicates metal instruments were not used to carve it. It rests in perfect balance. The slightest breeze causes the skull to nod back and forth, and the jaw opens and closes as a counter weight, making the skull look as if it is talking. The technique that created it is impossible to duplicate today.

The skull is also reported to change color, emit odors, create sound, change temperature, and possess psychic and healing powers. It is thought to be 2,000 to 4,000 years old, and theories about who made it abound. Was it carved by the Aztecs? The Knights Templar? Extraterrestrials? An Inner-Earth society? Mitchell-Hedges himself?

Legend says thirteen such skulls exist and that when they are brought together, they will reveal ancient wisdom.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

—Arthur C. Clarke

SECRET POWER: Today's power is a flair for precision and using crystals for mental and physical healing.

TO OPTIMIZE: Pick a crystal, study about it, and practice with it.

JANUARY 2 Psychic Detective Saves City

On January 2, 1940, Arthur Price Roberts, a seventy-three-year-old in excellent health, fulfilled a prediction he had made two months earlier: he died, after a lifetime of foretelling disasters and catching crooks.

Since childhood, Roberts had had the skill to see and find things others could not. He stayed illiterate all his life, afraid that education would destroy his ability. Among his many achievements: Roberts saved a wrongly convicted murderer from execution. He intuited where the body of a missing man had been snagged by sunken logs in a river. He located the killer in a two-year-old murder case by picking the killer's picture out of a series of police mug shots and announcing where the killer was working in another country. And he tracked down a stolen taxi, while the thieves were still driving it, twenty-four hours after the theft.

In Milwaukee in 1935, Roberts told police, "Going to be lots of bombings—dynamitings! I see two banks blown up and perhaps the city hall. Going to blow up police stations. Then there's going to be a big blowup south of the Menomonee River and it'll be all over." Eight days later the village hall was blasted to bits; two people died, and others were injured. The next day the same dynamiters blew up two Milwaukee banks and two police stations. In spite of extra police patrols, a sixth explosion took place. It was heard up to eight miles away, and the garage where it had been centered was obliterated. Two young men, Hugh Rotkowski and Paul Chovaonee, who were responsible for the other five bombings, were inside the garage with fifty pounds of dynamite for their sixth bomb when the explosives accidentally detonated. Roberts had correctly predicted the entire series of explosions, including the final accidental blast.

Because past, present and future exist simultaneously, there is no reason why you cannot react to an event whether or not it happens to fall within the small field of reality in which you usually observe and participate.

—Seth (a nonphysical consciousness channelled by medium Jane Roberts)

SECRET POWER: Today's power is to see and find things usually hidden from sight.

TO OPTIMIZE: Have someone hide something for you. Then practice guessing where it is.

JANUARY 3 Teleported Trees

On January 3, 1582, a clump of land, complete with trees and bushes, was lifted into the air and transported forty yards before being set down again. A Tudor annalist named Stowe, reports the event, which he said happened "in the Hermitage, in Dorset":

On Sunday, 3 January 1582, in the valley of the Cerf Blanc, Dorset, a piece of earth suddenly quitted its place of former time, and was transferred and transported forty yards to another paddock, in which there were alders and willows. It stopped the high road leading to the little town of Cerne. Yet the same hedges that surrounded it still enclose it today, and the trees that were there are still standing. The place this bit of land occupied is now a great Hole.

All manner of objects and creatures, including humans, have been also reported mysteriously transplanted. From the ninth century we have two reports of a case of land teleportation in Prussia. They may or may not be referring to the same incident. The first says:

AD 822: This year a prodigious portent occurred in Thuringia: a foot and a half of turf was seen suddenly to be lifted into the air from over a total area of twenty-five feet. It also happened on the border of Saxony and Misnia that the earth swelled up and erected itself in a heap near Lake Aonseum, creating a mound nearly 3,000 paces long.

The second report, the Chronicon Ecclesiae Sancti Bertini, compiled at St. Bertin's Abbey of St. Sihieu, says that in 840, in Thuringia, "a clod of earth over fifty feet long, fourteen feet broad, and six feet thick, no hand touching it, was cut off and raised into the air. In Saxony the earth was puffed up like a mound of one league."

Something unknown is doing we don't know what.

—Sir Arthur Eddington

SECRET POWER: Today's power is earth magic.

TO OPTIMIZE: Write and bury a spell, bury an object related to a wish, or draw in the dirt an image of something you're wishing for. Then walk many miles while visualizing the outcome of your magical act.

JANUARY 4 Orffyreus's Perpetual Motion Machine

On January 4, 1718, the seals on a locked room were broken open, and a team of investigators heard the unmistakeable sounds of a machine at work. Before them, a wooden wheel, measuring twelve feet in diameter and fourteen inches thick, turned on an iron shaft. The inner system of gears and pulleys was hidden behind a tightly stretched oiled canvas. This wheel had been spinning continuously, at twenty-six revolutions per minute, for nearly two months, and had strength enough to lift a box of stones. Johann Bessler had invented a perpetual motion machine.

This story goes against the law of the Conservation of Energy. Bessler had invented a way to get more energy out of a machine than he put into it. Orffyreus, as Bessler renamed himself, was a wild and wildly paranoid man. After years of ridicule, he was now under the protection of Count Karl of Hesse-Cassel, a region that later became a part of Germany. This third model of his invention was built in a garden shed and then transferred to a room in the castle. A thorough examination of the space eliminated suggestions that the wheel was aided by a hidden human being or turned via a cord from another room. The investigators were impressed. Professor Willem Jacob Gravesande, a Dutch mathematician who later became a professor of physics and astronomy and was responsible for laying the foundation for teaching physics, wrote to his friend Sir Isaac Newton, lauding the invention.

Twenty thousand pounds was the price that Orffyreus wanted to reveal the secret to his machine. When no one offered the money, Orffyreus's benefactor was finally allowed a glimpse of it. The count saw an ingenious system of weights on the ascending side of the wheel, which were prevented from following their path next to the rim by small pegs that swung out of the way as the weight passed the zenith. Shortly afterwards, the inventor locked himself up with the wheel and an axe and smashed his life's work to bits. Orffyreus became an embittered wanderer who died in November of 1745.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

—Niels Bohr

SECRET POWER: Today's power is to act beyond the limitations of "reality."

TO OPTIMIZE: Study quantum physics. Invent things.

JANUARY 5 Bursting into Flames

On January 5, 1835, James Hamilton, a professor of mathematics in Nashville, Tennessee, felt a sharp burning sensation in his left leg. Looking down, he saw a bright flame shooting from his thigh. He slapped it with his hand, but could not put it out. Then he closed his hands over the flame to cut off the oxygen supply and managed to extinguish it. The incident occurred outside in below-freezing weather. Later the professor examined the burn. It was three-fourths of an inch in width and three inches long. His underpants were burned through at the point of the injury, but there was no scorching around the hole. His trousers were not burned at all.

On January 5, 1820, in Marylebone, London, a series of unexplainable spontaneous fires began to break out in the Wright household, where Elizabeth Barnes, a ten-year-old girl, was employed as a servant. Mrs. Wright's clothes caught fire twice while she was in the kitchen with the girl and once when she was alone. Elizabeth was accused of causing the fires, but Mrs. Wright defended the girl, believing that the fires were caused by "some unknown means." Eventually, Mrs. Wright "was so dreadfully burned she was put to bed." As Mr. Wright left the room he heard his wife scream. The bed was in flames. The Wrights had Elizabeth arrested.

On January 5, 1895, fires in the Brooklyn home of Adam Colwell culminated in the frame building's destruction. All morning, fires had been bursting out spontaneously in the furniture and on the wallpaper, frequently in front of investigating policemen, and Colwell, his wife, son, and stepdaughter. The fire marshal said, "It might be thought that the child Rhoda started two of the fires, but she cannot be considered guilty of the others as she was being questioned when some of them began."

You can only have two things in life, Reasons and Results. Reasons don't count.

—John Paul Richter

SECRET POWER: Today's power is spontaneous fire.

TO OPTIMIZE: Feel hot blood moving through your body.

JANUARY 6 Flying Men

On January 6, 1948, in Chehalis, Washington, Bernice Zaikowski and several children coming home from school saw a man flying through the sky. They went into the garden for a better look. The flyer was hovering at twenty feet over the barn and had long, silver mechanical wings strapped to his shoulders. The fellow controlled them via an instrument panel attached to his chest, while he flew in an upright position. A whizzing noise accompaniesd his progress.

In Longview, Washington, three months later, James Pittman and Viola Johnson observed three men flying above the city. They could hear motors, but did not see any devices connected to the flyers, whose feet were dangling while they flew. Johnson said they appeared to be wearing helmets and that they were looking around as they went.

In 1953, Hilda Walker and two friends in Houston, Texas, were sitting on the front porch of their apartment building, enjoying an early morning breeze, when Hilda saw a huge shadow across the lawn. She said, "I thought at first it was the magnified reflection of a big moth caught in a nearby street light. Then the shadow seemed to bounce upward into a pecan tree." The "shadow" was a man, six and a half feet tall, dressed in tight-fitting black clothing, with a cape and quarterlength boots. A halo of light surrounded him, and big folded wings could be seen at his shoulders. After fifteen minutes, an unnamed witness said, he "just melted away." A swish was heard, and then a rocket-shaped object blasted off.

In 1897, in Mount Vernon, Illinois, the town mayor and 100 citizens saw something that "resembled the body of a huge man swimming through the air with an electric light on his back." The first known report of this kind—of a man flying with mechanical aid of some kind attached to his body—was recorded in Kentucky, in 1880.

One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.

—Helen Keller

SECRET POWER: Today's power is flying high.

TO OPTIMIZE: Wear a cape in the wind.

JANUARY 7 Fairies From Light

On January 7, 1970, a glowing red mist cloaking a metallic UFO descended near two skiers in Finland. The swirling cloud softly buzzed as a brilliant ray of light flowed from its base onto the snow. The astonished men saw a small elfish creature enveloped in the light beam. He was short, had a pale face, was "luminous like phosphorus," and was wearing green overalls, boots, and a conical hat. He carried a box that shot a flash of light and colored sparks at the men, momentarily blinding them while the elf returned to his cloud-shrouded vehicle and departed. Laughing with delight and excitement, the men returned home.

In another account from 1860s Scotland, T. C. Kermode reveals his experience of seeing fairies while walking to a harvest festival with his friend. His friend looked across the river and said, "Oh look, there are the fairies. Did you ever see them?"

I looked across the river and saw a circle of supernatural light ... The spot where the light appeared ... I saw ... a great crowd of little beings ... They moved back and forth amid the circle of light ... I advised getting nearer to them, but my friend said, "No, I'm going to the party." ... [M]y friend struck the roadside wall with a stick and shouted, and we lost the vision and the light vanished.

The Reverend Robert Kirk, a minister from the Scottish highlands, believed in fairies and published encounters from his region in his famous work of 1691, The Secret Commonwealth. He said fairies had bodies "somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud, and best seen in twilight.... [T]hey can appear or disappear at pleasure." It is widely believed that Kirk did not die but was taken into the fairy realm at Aberfoyle Hill, where he can still be found.

When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.

—J. M. Barrie

SECRET POWER: Today's power is casting lighthearted enchantments.

TO OPTIMIZE: Make someone smile.

JANUARY 8 Lightning Plays Favorites

In 1953, in Ermelo, South Africa, lightning struck a native boy as he was leading a team of eight oxen pulling a heavy plough. The boy was knocked unconscious and was just about to be trampled and crushed when lightning struck again. The second bolt killed all eight animals, saving the boy's life.

In the 1800s, ball lightning skipped down from a treetop, one branch at a time and, avoiding mud puddles in the yard, meandered over to the barn where two children were keeping dry from the rain. One of the children kicked the sphere, causing it to explode. The eleven cows in the stable were killed. The children were fine.

Also in the 1800s, in Salagnac, France, three women and a child were in their house when ball lightning entered through the chimney. It rolled about the room and then passed through the kitchen and into another room before going into a small stable. The fiery ball passed over dry straw without igniting it. It touched a pig and then vanished. The pig died. In another incident, ball lightning circled a little girl with a kitten in her lap. When it disappeared, the kitten died, but the girl was unharmed.

A baby sleeping in its buggy escaped unscathed when lightning struck, ripping three sides off the carriage. In 1890, in Ireland, lightning hit a basket of eggs, shattering the shells, but leaving the inner membranes unbroken. In 1902, in Iowa, lightning broke every other dish in a stack of twelve plates. Other strikes have unplugged drains, popped bags of popcorn, and cut perfect circles from the glass in windows; in 1972 lightning cut circles in window glass at the Meteorology Department in the University of Edinburgh.

Excerpted from ALMANAC OF THE INFAMOUS THE INCREDIBLE AND THE IGNORED by Juanita Rose Violini. Copyright © 2009 Juanita Rose Violini. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Fred Alan Wolf

The Almanac makes a charming and often enlightening read. Enjoy. (Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., author of Dr. Quantum's Little Book of Big Ideas)

Lemony Snicket

From the Crystal Skull to Peking Man, this is the only believable history of the world I have ever encountered.

Meet the Author

Juanita Rose Violini has been fascinated by mysteries large and small all her life. She has run Masterpiece Mysteries and MysteryFactory.com for 20 years, writing, directing and producing murder mystery events and downloadable parties. She has written, directed, and produced more than two dozen murder mystery plays, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. Visit her online at: www.incrediblealmanac.com.

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Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
spiritual1rav More than 1 year ago
It is said that truth is stranger than fiction. This wonderfully written and well researched book certainly makes this point clear! It is written in short bursts of energy, which emit excitement to match! So much fun to read! The pictures or illustrations are delightful! Violini conveys factual details from strange phenomenon all over the world, and yet still manages to leave the reader with the impression of her interesting, fun, and spiritual personality. One can believe each individual report or not. However, after weighing all the evidence presented in this book, if it is in fact the first one you have read containing information on strange, unexplainable (by human standards) events your mind must open to the possibility there is so much we do not understand. Most of what we do not understand, we do not need to be afraid of. I am not certain who once said, "Every time we think we know the answers, we find we only have more questions!" This book is fun to read, and certainly should make one think. A wonderful book, I highly recommend!
Riley29 More than 1 year ago
this book is so awesome! gives readers a daily story of something mysterious, impossible, crazy, weird, and unexplainable to think about for the day.