Monday, May 16, 2011

Historical Trivia

Just as butchers doubtless have interesting bits left over from cutting up the good meat and bakers have the odd candied fruit or eggwhites they can't use in the day's batch of pastries, Historical Romance writers pick up lovely bits of trivia they can never use in the books.

Today at Word Wenches --

The Bizarre Byways of Research

A goodly while ago, Pat Punt asked the Wenches to 
. . . share some of the strangest trivia they have come across in their research.  Having done my share of surfing the 'net, I have encountered many a fact stranger than fiction.   Their experience must be even more bizarre.

Bizarre does seem an appropriate description for what we come across.

Scheele's green   From Pat Rice:

The only trivia I remember is from my childhood. I play a mean game of 60's Trivial Pursuit.

But I just recently wrote about the poisonous green paint that might have killed Napoleon (Kill Your Hero with Regency Wallpaper and given a whole lot of other people pneumonia, asthma, and the winter blues.

But the one bit of history that sticks clearly in my mind—probably because it affected the area where I lived for twenty years—is the Mississippi flowing backward during the 1811 New Madrid earthquake. Can you imagine how powerful an earthquake would have to be to send the mighty Mississippi backward? And weirder yet, Shawnee tribe leader Tecumseh and his brother predicted the earthquake before it arrived. For some other weird stories about the period: see here.

From Mary Jo Putney:

Lord Uxbridge’s Leg

For the rest . . . head here


  1. I've done three posts about this, apparently ( and I mentioned you in one of them: "Joanna Bourne's hilarious comment about Tolkien."
    But for the life of me I can't remember what that was referring to!

  2. Tolkien . . . jeesh ... I dunnoh.

    *jo whimpers*

  3. I wish I could remember what you'd said, though! I'll try a forum search...

  4. Hmm, well there's this, on his poetry:
    But that's about it...

  5. That might be it.

    I am not a fan of Tolkien's poetry, mostly. But I do like that line.