When it comes to subterfuge, success can often be found by hiding in plain sight. Take, for example, the lady spies who, over the years, communicated secret information through their knitting. They turned knitting patterns into codes, overheard conversations as their needles clicked, dropped stitches intentionally to conceal messages in scarves and hats. It was clever and perfectly concealed by the stereotype that women’s hobbies—especially those of older women—were silly and harmless.
In Molly “Old Mom” Rinker’s case, she found she was able to hide quite comfortably in the role of “old woman knitting” while she spied on British forces during the Revolutionary War.
Enough daring ladies took advantage of this method, especially during WWI, that by the time WWII came around, specific precautions were taken to keep knitted codes from slipping through unnoticed (among other things):
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The weekend is over and the workweek is back at it again. Not a big fan of Mondays? You’re not alone. Here’s a little 1995 article from the Wausau Daily Herald all about the Monday blues and surviving the workweek:
“Just kind of hope for the best. Don’t expect too much.” – Jim Beem.
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On October 24, 1926, the famed magician Harry Houdini finished a show, walked off the stage, and collapsed.
The above-mentioned “delay in applying for medical attention” was a span of several days. The exact reasons for his unexpected death haven’t been confirmed, exactly, but it is pretty likely a result of being punched in the stomach after a lecture on October 22nd. Houdini was chatting with some students in his dressing room when one student decided to test his claim that he could withstand any blow to the stomach.
The student’s blow came without warning, and Houdini, with no time to prepare, found himself with a ruptured appendix as a result. But it was his insistence that the show must go on, as they say, that did him in. He survived for a week after the operation for his appendicitis, but eventually died that Halloween at the age of 52.
But before he died, he is said to have made a promise with his wife. If there was a way to contact her from the Beyond, he would find it. And thus, the annual Halloween Houdini seances began.
After ten years of attempting to receive a message from her husband, Bess Houdini finally gave up the effort. She died in 1943. She is pictured below next to a small collection of her husbands things a few days before the October 1936 seance, the final attempt she would make.
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On this day in 1965, the 630 foot tall curve of St. Louis’ Gateway Arch was completed.
Interesting, related tidbit of history: it seems that while in town for the arch’s monumental completion, Aline Saarinen—wife of the architect who designed the building—was robbed.
Eero Saarinen, sadly, died in 1961, two years before construction of the arch began.
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On this day in 1959, the doors of the strange, spiraling Guggenheim Museum open to the public.
The Guggenheim displayed (and continues to display) a large and expanding collection of contemporary art. It has since become one of the most visited of New York City’s many attractions. Have you had a chance to go?
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The first week of October has come and gone, and with it fades the final days of this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations. Celebrated annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1810, Oktoberfest has since spread to various cities across the world for obvious reasons. A two week-long party (or longer) complete with music, festivities, traditional foods, and beer? That’s a recipe for a good time wherever you are.
So how did it all start?
Yep—you’ve got to admire a wedding reception that’s so good it’s re-celebrated every year.
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Today in 1814, Francis Scott Key memorializes the experience of watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British forces during the War of 1812.
The sight of the lone United States flag still waving over the fort the following morning inspired Key, who later wrote theses lines which, paired with song, eventually became the U.S. national anthem.
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On September 11, 2001, 2,997 people were killed and thousands more injured in a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks that at once shocked and unified the United States and the world.
On September 11, 2002, the first official Patriot Day was celebrated in the U.S. to remember those who perished in the attacks.
On September 11, 2009, the first official National Day of Service and Remembrance was observed to encourage the nation to volunteer and unite together. It has since become the largest day of charitable service in the U.S. anually.
Find more on the observance of this national day of service with a search on Newspapers.com, and be sure to keep a look out for volunteer opportunities near you!
On this day in 1985, the famous and much sought out wreck of the RMS Titanic was found miles beneath the ocean’s surface, 73 years after its sinking. The expedition, headed by Dr. Robert Ballard, used experimental technology in the form of an unmanned submersible that scanned the ocean floor until it passed over the Titanic’s boilers, and the rest is history.
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