John’s Believe It Or Not… May 9th

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

It’s Tuesday (We Survived Monday)! Did you know…

* 1885 – Frederick Middleton Engages Gabriel Dumont’s Métis at Batoche. (North West Rebellion – Major-General Frederick Middleton and more than 800 soldiers of the North-West Field Force attack Gabriel Dumont and his Métis and Cree warriors at Batoche, the capital of Louis Riel’s provisional government. When some troops try to move upstream behind the town on the HBC steamer Northcote, the Metis lower Dumont’s steel ferry cable across the river and slice off the Northcote’s masts and smokestacks, taking it out of the equation. The Battle of Batoche will rage for four days, until May 12, when the Métis run out of ammunition and effectively end the rebellion. Batoche, Saskatchewan)

The Battle of Batoche
Battle of Batoche Print by Seargent Grundy (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

* 1950 L. Ron Hubbard publishes Dianetics. (On this day in 1950, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) publishes Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. With this book, Hubbard introduced a branch of self-help psychology called Dianetics, which quickly caught fire and, over time, morphed into a belief system boasting millions of subscribers: Scientology. In Dianetics, Hubbard explained that phenomena known as “engrams” (i.e. memories) were the cause of all psychological pain, which in turn harmed mental and physical health. He went on to claim that people could become “clear,” achieving an exquisite state of clarity and mental liberation, by exorcising their engrams to an “auditor,” or a listener acting as therapist. Though discredited by the medical and scientific establishment, over 100,000 copies of Dianetics were sold in the first two years of publication, and Hubbard soon found himself lecturing across the country. He went on to write six more books in 1951, developing a significant fan base, and establishing the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey. By 1953, however, Hubbard was able to rebound from the widespread condemnation beginning to be heaped upon him and introduced Scientology. Scientology expanded on Dianetics by bringing Hubbard’s popular version of psychotherapy into the realm of philosophy, and ultimately, religion. In only a few years, Hubbard found himself at the helm of a movement that captured the popular imagination. As Scientology grew in the 1960s, several national governments became suspicious of Hubbard, accusing him of quackery and brainwashing his followers. Nonetheless, Hubbard built his religion into a multi-million dollar movement that continues to have a considerable presence in the public eye, due in part to its high profile in Hollywood.)

Church of Scientology of Missouri — Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
Church of Scientology of Missouri — Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (Courtesy of Pinterest)

* 1671 Captain Blood steals crown jewels. (In London, Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as “Captain Blood,” is captured attempting to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Blood, a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, was deprived of his estate in Ireland with the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660. In 1663, he put himself at the head of a plot to seize Dublin Castle from supporters of King Charles II, but the plot was discovered and his accomplices executed. He escaped capture. In 1671, he hatched a bizarre plan to steal the new Crown Jewels, which had been refashioned by Charles II because most of the original jewels were melted down after Charles I’s execution in 1649. On May 9, 1671, Blood, disguised as a priest, managed to convince the Jewel House keeper to hand over his pistols. Blood’s three accomplices then emerged from the shadows, and together they forced their way into the Jewel House. However, they were caught in the act when the keeper’s son showed up unexpectedly, and an alarm went out to the Tower guard. One man shoved the Royal Orb down his breeches while Blood flattened the Crown with a mallet and tried to run off with it. The Tower guards apprehended and arrested all four of the perpetrators, and Blood was brought before the king. Charles was so impressed with Blood’s audacity that, far from punishing him, he restored his estates in Ireland and made him a member of his court with an annual pension. Captain Blood became a colorful celebrity all across the kingdom, and when he died in 1680 his body had to be exhumed in order to persuade the public that he was actually dead.)

The Crown Jewels are comprised of pieces, including St Edwards Crown, the orb and sceptre (Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016)
The Crown Jewels are comprised of pieces, including St Edwards Crown, the orb and sceptre (Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016) (Courtesy of tradcatknight.blogspot.com)

* 1926 Byrd flies over the North Pole? (According to their claims, polar explorer Richard E. Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole on this day in the Josephine Ford, a triple-engine Fokker monoplane. It would have been the first time an aircraft flew over the top of the world. The pair had taken off from Spitsbergen, Norway, and reportedly covered the 1,545-mile trip to the pole and back in 15 hours and 30 minutes. For the achievement, both men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and acclaimed as national heroes. The discovery in 1996 of the diary that Byrd had kept on his famous flight seemed to suggest that he and Bennett may have turned back 150 miles short of the pole because of an oil leak. If so, Italian adventurer Umberto Nobile, American Lincoln Ellsworth, and Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (who was in 1911 the first person to reach the South Pole by land) would receive the credit for their airship flight over the North Pole on May 12, 1926, three days after Fletcher and Byrd’s flight. Nevertheless, Byrd’s place in polar exploration is firmly set; in 1929, he established a U.S. base in Antarctica and late in the same year, accompanied by aviator Bernt Balchen, he made the undisputed first aircraft flight over the South Pole.)

Byrd Flies Over North Pole
Byrd Flies Over North Pole (Courtesy of Henry Ford Heritage Association)

* 1914 Woodrow Wilson proclaims the first Mother’s Day holiday. (On this day in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation that officially establishes the first national Mother’s Day holiday to celebrate America’s mothers. The idea for a “Mother’s Day” is credited by some to Julia Ward Howe (1872) and by others to Anna Jarvis (1907), who both suggested a holiday dedicated to a day of peace. Many individual states celebrated Mother’s Day by 1911, but it was not until Wilson lobbied Congress in 1914 that Mother’s Day was officially set on the second Sunday of every May. In his first Mother’s Day proclamation, Wilson stated that the holiday offered a chance to “[publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” In 2002, President George W. Bush echoed Wilson’s sentiments by acknowledging mothers in his official statement on Mother’s Day in 2002. He commended foster mothers as well as his own “fabulous mother” for their “love and sacrifice.” He also mentioned past presidents’ expressions of appreciation for their mothers. He quoted John Quincy Adams as having said “all that I am my mother made me” and Abraham Lincoln’s sentiment that “all that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother? [my mother’s prayers] have clung to me all my life.” Bush’s own mother, Barbara, was a popular first lady when the elder Bush served as president from 1989 to 1992.)

The 'Beaver' kisses his mother on TV series "Leave It To Beaver"
Wally: “Awww… Beav… not cool!” History of Mother’s Day (Courtesy of http://www.history.com)

Acknowledged Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php

* This Day In History – What Happened Today    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

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Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (http://fiorabooks.com), to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

7 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 9th”

  1. Another fascinating post, John! For some strange reason I never knew the beginnings of Mother’s Day until now. It’s as if I couldn’t imagine a time when it never existed! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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