I usually know at least the basic details of the lives of my ABC Wednesday subjects – when and where they were born, their family life etc – but in the case of James Julian I know nothing at all except that he was the inventor of a most bizarre means of execution, the Julian Gallows.

In the late 19th century, America was obsessed with finding a ‘humane’ means of execution and so it was that in 1892 Julian invented his gallows. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Toast master: A brainless neo-Nazi drug dealer brought the weight of German law enforcement down upon himself after posting pictures of toast featuring images of Adolf Hitler on Facebook. When police went to arrest him they also discovered a stash of crystal meth and marijuana.

In the pink: Residents of Onoway in Canada were shocked when the town's tap water turned bright pink. Read more ›››

Warlord Chronicles

I finished reading the latest of Bernard Cornwell's Last Kingdom series last year and on the strength of my enjoyment of those books I decided to go back to his much earlier Warlord Chronicles series.

The three books in the series are a retelling of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of the Derfel, one of Arthur's warlords and close friend and is told in retrospect from Derfel's old age. Read more ›››

Ivan Kaye as Ivar the Boneless

Ivar Ragnussson was one of the Vikings leaders who with his brothers led the Great Heathen Army that invaded the East Anglia region of England in 865AD, but it is how he got the nickname Ivar the Boneless that is the mystery.

But first the history lesson. Ivar was the son of Ragnar Lodbrok who ruled large parts of what is today Denmark and Sweden. The young Ivar is portrayed as a warrior and had a reputation as a berserker. Read more ›››

Apparently, there are anti-Brexit billboards like this one popping up all over the country by a campaign group called Stop the Silence and paid for by people like me who remain unconvinced that leaving the EU is such a good idea.

I stumped up my twenty quid through the campaign's website because it seemed the least I could do to express my doubts about our mass migration out of Europe. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Making up: This image of an animal skull actually hides the body of Mirjana Kika Milosevic, the make-up artist who uses her body as a canvas. You see how she did it and more of her work on YouTube.

We are not amused: Allan V Evans of Colorado has staked a claim to be the true sovereign of the United Kingdom and has taken out a public notice in the Times to state his case. Read more ›››

Jane Haining was a Christian missionary who worked with Jewish communities in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s who in 2010 was posthumously named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.

She was born in Dunscore, Scotland, in 1897 the daughter of Thomas and Jane Haining. Her mother died when Jane was just five-years-old and as she grew she took on the role of caring for the family. Read more ›››

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