Hitler’s bunker, partially burned by retreating German troops and stripped of valuables by invading Russians, 1945 (x)
(April 3, 1904 – August 31, 1979) was a burlesque dancer and actress, most noted for her ostrich feather fan dance and balloon bubble dance. She also performed under the name Billie Beck.
Her most famous appearance was at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair entitled Century of Progress. She was arrested four times in a single day during the fair due to perceived indecent exposure after a fan dance performance and while riding a white horse down the streets of Chicago, where the nudity was only an illusion, and again after being body painted by Max Factor, Sr. with his new make-up formulated for Hollywood films. She also conceived and developed the bubble dance, in part to cope with wind while performing outdoors. She performed the fan dance on film in Bolero, released in 1934. (x)
In 1904, tea bags were invented accidentally. The inventor, Thomas Sullivan (a tea merchant) decided that it was cheaper to send small samples to prospective customers in silk bags – rather than boxes. The recipients mistakenly believed they were meant to be dunked and soon Sullivan was inundated with orders for his “tea bags”. (x)
Madonna Del Prato (Madonna of the Meadow) by Raphael
The artist painted this oil on board in 1505 whilst he was in Florence; though the painting is now housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. Madonna del Prato, also known as Madonna of the Meadow depicts Virgin Mary looking down to baby Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist who is kneeling and offering a cross to Jesus. The painting was created for Taddeo Taddei and remained in the Taddei family until 1660s when it was sold to Ferdinand Charles, Archduke of Austria. (x)
A policeman directs buses in the intersection of Trafalgar Square in London, 1929 (x)
Claud Monet with a pigeon on his head when he visited Venice with his wife, 1908 (x)
The Blood Countess
Often called the “Blood Countess,” Elizabeth Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman who is widely considered to be history’s most deranged female serial killer. Throughout the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Báthory reportedly lured young peasants to her castle with promises of high-paying jobs as servants. Once trapped in the citadel, these victims were subject to unspeakable tortures. Some were beaten or stabbed with needles, while others were stripped naked and left to freeze in the snow. According to legend, Báthory even bathed in the blood of her virgin victims, believing it would keep her skin radiant and youthful.
Báthory allegedly massacred as many as 80 peasant girls—though the number may be as high as 600—but it was only when she turned her attention to young noblewomen that she was finally stopped. In 1611 she was bricked up inside her castle chambers with only a small opening for food. She would die four years later in 1614. Some historians have since argued that Báthory was framed by political enemies. While this claim is disputed, there is little doubt that her reputation has become thoroughly intertwined with myth and legend. Along with Vlad the Impaler, she is said to be one of the historical influences behind Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula.” (x)