The Diving Horses of Atlantic City






Starting in 1905 and ending in 1978, Atlantic City featured diving horses. The horses were trained to dive into the water from a platform with girls on their back from 2-4 times daily.

Ones such lady, Lorena Carver, dove from a forty-foot tower into a 12 foot-deep tank for 25 years until 1930 when she "got a little heavy." Lorena averaged one broken bone per year. Lorena remarked that the job was not especially demanding. "All the girl has to do is look pretty and not fear height or water. . . . The horse knows what to do. He'll take care of you."

Lorena said her horses loved to jump, often making it difficult to get them to wait to build suspense before jumping. Much depended on the horse, with some leaping immediately off the platform while some took up to 5 minutes to look around. The horse Klatawah (Indian for "go away" or "go to h*ll"), would often paw with his hoof as many times as he felt before diving, a remnant of a pawing-his-age act he had performed. When the crowd was small, Klatawah would make a "few lazy scrapes" and dive from a "reclining" position, but he would prance and show off when the crowd was large.

Sonora Webster Carver, another girl who rode the diving horses, was blinded in 1931 when the impact of the water detached her retinas. She continued in the show for another 11 years. Her sister, Arnette French, who also dove with the horses until 1935, remembers,. "What impressed me was how Dr. Carver cared for the horses. . . we went, the S.P.C.A. was always snooping around, trying to find if we were doing anything that was cruel to animals. They never found anything because those horses lived the life of Riley. In all the years of the act, there was never a horse that was injured.''

Sornoa's worte the memoir, A Girl and Five Brave Horses which can be previewed here and is very interesting and includes pictures. She describes her first performed jump. "I felt his muscles tense as his big body sprang out and down, then had an entirely new feeling. It was a wild, almost primitive feel, that only comes with complete freedom of contact with the earth. Then I saw the water rushing up at me, and the next moment we were in the tank."

One person remembers seeing the horses:

"The High Diving Horses were always my favorite. I must have seen at least six of them over the years. They each had their own style of diving. One would wait a good five minutes before jumping - he would hold his head up and watch the seagulls fly by. Some dove with their front legs straight out, while others tucked up their legs as if they were going over a jump. One horse would twist in the air and land on his side, making it dangerous for his rider.

Another horse, I think his name was Patches, drew quite an audience. After making so many jumps he no longer waited for his rider. He would charge up the ramp to the tower and take a running jump off the diving board, leaving the rider behind. A couple of the girls tried to leap on him as he flew by, only to be left sailing through the air mount-less. One day, he got up so much speed he almost overshot the pool. Needless to say, they retired him. One year they even had a high diving mule."

When the show was closed, the last two diving horses, Gamal aged 26 and Shiloh aged 9 were bought by the Fund for Animals.

To see videos of the Atlantic Diving horses, please visit here and here.

Sources: ATLANTIC CITY features the High-Diving Horse, Mr. Peanut, Lucy the Elephant, and generations of Americans running amok under (and over) the Boardwalk, Palisades Amusement Park" A Century of Fond Memories, Dedication, New York Times, Petticoat Discipline Quarterly, Life

religious game show

Istanbul television station, Kanal T is launching Penitents Compete, a new reality show in September that focuses on religious conversion. 10 atheists, confirmed as athiests by 8 theologians, will be the contestants. A Christian priest, a Jewish rabbi, a Muslim inam and a Buddhist monk will try to convert the contestants.

The prize is a trip to the holy city of their new chosen religion (the Vatican and Ephesus, Jerusalem, Mecca or Tibet). Station deputy director, Ahmet Ozdemir says, "They can't see this trip as a getaway, but as a religious experience."

Advertising slogans for Penitents Compete include "We give you the biggest prize ever: we represent the belief in God" and "You will find serenity in this competition."

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Charles Daubeny, "Oxford's first professor of Chemistry," once held up two bottles in front of his class, telling him that if the liquids in the two bottles mixed, the lecture hall would explode. But when he tripped and the liquids mixed to the audience's horror, nothing happened. He had a technician to thank. The technician had substituted the liquids before the lecture. Eurekas and Euphorias: The Ozford book of Scientific Antecdotes (p. 4).

leech removed from eye, cockney Bible and lost lab


In Sydney, a 66-year-old women was gardening in her backyard when she flicked dirt into her eye. "After multiple attempts at wiping the dirt away, she felt some movement in front of her eye and called for her husband's help. He saw a leech four to five millimeters long pass across her cornea and under the upper lid." Doctors were able to successfully remove the leech with a saline solution. Source

Mike Coles wrote a cockney version of the Bible endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey. Dr. Carey wrote the foreword and believes this version will bring the Bible back "into the marketplace, into the streets, where it originally took place". Here is the Lord's Prayer (as found in Luke 11:2-4) as translated in this version:

HELLO, Dad, up there in good ol' Heaven,
Your name is well great and holy, and we respect you, Guv.
We hope we can all 'ave a butcher's at Heaven and be there as soon as
possible: and we want to make you happy, Guv, and do what you want 'ere on
earth, just like what you do in Heaven.
Guv, please give us some Uncle Fred, and enough grub and stuff to keep us
going today, and we hope you'll forgive us when we cock things up, just
like we're supposed to forgive them who annoy us and do dodgy stuff to us.
There's a lot of dodgy people around, Guv; please don't let us get tempted
to do bad things. Help keep us away from all the nasty, evil stuff, and
keep that dodgy Satan away from us, 'cos you're much stronger than 'im.
Your the Boss, God, and will be for ever, innit? Cheers, Amen.

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Simon, a Labrador mix went missing from his Baltesz family in Bristol. After using the conventional methods, the Baltesz family started sprinkling their diluted urine around town with trails leading back to their house. "A small army of friends and volunteers has been helping."

Mother, Louise says: ""There are people who are upset about it, but I'm too emotionally drained to think about it," she said. "I'm worried about it - I really am. . . . I do feel mad doing it, but I'm driven to desperate measures."

Simon has been lost since July 4th. Louis adds, "The house is so quiet without him. He's a bit of a special dog because he was a rescue animal and it took us ages to rehabilitate him.'He's unusual for a Labrador because most are friendly and approachable but he was so badly treated he doesn't trust anyone except us. We are really attached to him."

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40 minute war and the shoe-fitting fluoroscope


The Anglo-Zanzibar War between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar (in East Africa) occurred on August 27, 1896. The war lasted aproximatley 40 minutes. While Khalid bin Bargash seized power after Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini's death, the British wanted the sultanship to go to Hamud bin Muhammed. Bargash ignored the British ultimatum that he relinquish power and barracaded himself in the palace. When the time alloted in the ultimatum expired, five British warships commenced bombing of the palace. After British victory, the British forced Khalid's supporters to pay for the cost of the shells used in the attack. The war ended Zanzibar's status as a sovereign state. Several months later,under British prompting, Hamud abolished slavery. Source
In the 1920s to 1940s, a popular device in shoes stores was the shoe-fitting fluoroscope. Stores used their machines to draw in customers with slogans such as "Shoes of Quality, X-Ray Fitted" and "Kiddies love it!" One 1940's advertisement boasted, "Whether the shoe clerk is an “old timer” with 20 or more years of fitting experience or a “Saturday extra” who has been on the job only a few weeks, ADRIAN X-Ray Machines help him give your child the most accurate fitting possible."

The machines showed the image of the foot inside the shoe when a person stood over the x-ray tube. [One source says the x-ray tube was lead-shielded while another says it was shielded with 1 mm of aluminum.-most likely varied b model and year]. "Some units allowed the operator to select one of three different intensities: the highest intensity for men, the middle one for women and the lowest for children. "

Some models had three viewing slots, where both the child, parent and clerk could view the image. "Fortunately, the X-rays did not continue directly through to the viewers' eyes, but were reflected by mirrors to the viewing ports. With repeated use of the fluoroscope with different pairs of shoes, an enterprising clerk could entice customers to find the perfect fit."

While potential dangers of radiation were known before the shoe-fitting fluoroscope was patented, 10,000 shoe-fitting fluoroscopes were being used in the 1940s. In 1951, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists formed safety standards. The standard required that customers could not use the device more than 20 times a year or 5 times a fitting, and that "customers should have shoes on BOTH feet at the time of a fluoroscopic examination." 1960, the device was banned in 34 states.

The Museum of Quackery claims their fluoroscope on display was found in Madison, West Virginia in 1981 where it was still being used.

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Random Historical Facts


In 1671, the chief butler to the prince de Conde, Francois Vatel, was charged with overseeing a feast in honor of the visiting Louis XIV. Forgoing 12 days of sleep for the feast preparation, when Vatel discovered he lacked two roasts he said, “I have lost my honor. . . This is a disgrace which is more than I can bear (105).” The lack of sleep and missing roasts proved too much for Vatel when he stabbed himself with his own sword when his fish did not come in time to prepare for the feast. On the road to the church, his corpse passed the cart delivering the fish.

In the 1600s, “[r]edheads were thought to be the product of sex during menstruation and were believed to exhibit the lack of sexual self-discipline inherent in the ill-timed copulation of their parents (109).”

The the Middle ages, after monks were forbidden to practice medicine and dentistry any more, barbers began to assume medical roles. A common practice of the time was bloodletting. Barbers advertised their bloodletting services by displaying "buckets of fresh blood in their windows. When the blood congealed, it was poured into the street, where it spoiled." (34)

Sources for first two: "Sex With Kings" by Eleanor Herman." Sources for third: "Toothworms spider juice and illustrated history of dentistry."