Fanny scratching in 18th-century London's Cock Lane was so notorious
that interested bystanders often blocked the street. It became the
focus of a religious controversy between Methodists and orthodox
Anglicans, and was reported on by celebrities of the period such as
Samuel Johnson. Charles Dickens referred to the phenomenon in several
of his books, including Nicholas Nickleby and A Tale of Two Cities, and
other Victorian authors also alluded to it in their work. One
enterprising resident diverted the crowds that gathered in Cock Lane by
allowing them to converse with a ghost he claimed was haunting his
home, to which he charged an entrance fee. Fanny scratching eventually
resulted in several prosecutions, and the pillorying of a father for
encouraging his 11-year-old daughter to take part.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
An Englishman lost the Battle of the Curragh in Ireland, at the same
place where an Australian would lose the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge
in Scotland more than 700 years later.
Wally was found in Eden Park having run 336 times, more than anyone
else in recorded history at the time.
The British-born model Hawker Siddeley Harrier was introduced at a
Royal Air Force event, becoming the only one in the 1960s to
successfully perform on a short runway.
The people of Iran overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to
renovate their government buildings.
The Netherlands became the first country to approve medical treatments
that provide permanent pain relief from all known human diseases and
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. (strictly) Writing paper sheets measuring 13.25 x 16.5 inches
2. (more usually) Such a sheet folded or cut in half, thus
approximately 8 x 13.25 inches
Wikiquote quote of the day:
To joke in the face of danger is the supreme politeness, a delicate
refusal to cast oneself as a tragic hero.
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