The Dracula legend is generally believed to have evolved from the life of Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, a Prince of Wallachia who lived from 1431 to 1476. Best known for the cruelty of his reign, he was greatly disliked, but he served as a sort of buffer between Europe and the Ottoman invaders, and this made him key to the European defense. He filfilled this purpose well, killing so many Turks that the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II laid siege on Vlad’s castle himself. Vlad did not restrict his killing, however, to his enemies. He also had a habit of pillaging certain towns under his rule and murdering a great number of his own subjects. True to his name, most of his victims were impaled. According to some legends, he was eventually taken captive by the Hungarians who burned out his eyes and buried him alive. The next day, however, when his grave was unearthed, they found no corpse. Shortly thereafter, there were a number of mysterious deaths at his castle, giving rise to the belief among his subjects that he had somehow survived — and perhaps giving rise to the vampire myth as well.
Famed Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa once told of a legendary humanoid creature that supposedly lived in South America. Producer William Alland overheard the story, and it became the inspiration for The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). The Creature is considered by many critics to be Universal’s last great classic monster, and it spawned several sequels including Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).
Scylla was once a beautiful maiden until she was changed into a snakelike monster by the sorceress Circe. She lived in a cave high up on a cliff, from where she was known to thrust forth her long necks (she had six heads), and in each of her mouths seize one of the crew of every vessel passing within reach. According to legend, she murdered six of the companions of Ulysses, and tried to wreck the ships of Aeneas until she was turned into a rock.
According to local legends, the Mapinguari, a large, nocturnal, red-haired monster with a disorienting stench, roams the Amazon jungle of Brazil. Locals describe the Mapinguari as standing about two meters tall when on its hind legs. Interestingly, its feet are turned backwards and it is reportedly capable of ripping apart palm trees with its large claws. Although most scientists dismiss the Mapinguari as myth, a few, among them ornithologist David Oren, believe the Mapinguari may actually exist. They theorize that it may be a surviving giant ground sloth similar to the Mylodon, generally thought to have gone extinct about ten thousand years ago. It would not be entirely unprecedented to discover a living specimen of a species thought to be extinct for such a long period. In 1972, Dr. Ralph Wetzel discovered living specimens of the Chacoan Peccary, a close relative of pigs and boars, while on an expedition to the Gran Chaco. Prior to his discovery, the only example of this type of peccary had come from fossil remains, and they were generally considered to have died out about ten thousand years ago.
A RIVER carried down in its stream two Pots, one made of earthenware and the other of brass. The Earthen Pot said to the Brass Pot, “Pray keep at a distance and do not come near me, for if you touch me ever so slightly, I shall be broken in pieces, and besides, I by no means wish to come near you.”
Moral:Equals make the best friends
Velociraptor means “fast thief.” This fast-running dinosaur, which lived during the late Cretaceous period (about 85-80 million years ago), has become quite popular due the movie Jurassic Park. Standing only about 3 feet tall (and 5 to 6 feet long), Velociraptors were much smaller than depicted in the movie. They were, however, fierce predators, and their sickle-shaped talons could reach the length of the teeth on sabertooth cats, making them a formidable adversary.
The horse on the logo, which was taken from Stuttgart’s Coat of Arms, represents the stud farm on which the city was built.
Introduced in 1971, the Kenbak-1 is generally considered to be the world’s first personal computer. Designed by John V. Blankenbaker, the Kenbak-1 included 256 bytes of memory, ran at an operating speed of about 1MHz, and sold for $750. Unlike many earlier machines it was a true stored-program (Von Neumann) computer. Unfortunately for Blankenbaker, the world wasn’t quite ready for the personal computer. After selling only 40 machines, the Kenbak Corp. was forced to go out of business in 1973.
Henry McCarty was born in New York City in 1859, far from the West where he would eventually become famous as Billy the Kid. Although he is generally depicted as a ruthless killer, Billy the Kid only wanted to avenge the murder of his employer who treated him like a son. Only four of the men Billy shot, died, and these may all be considered acts of self-defense or self-preservation. At the age of 21, Billy paid the ultimate price for his violent lifestyle when he was shot and killed by sheriff Pat Garrett in a pitch black room at Fort Sumner. Many years later, a man calling himself Brushy Bill Roberts claimed to be Billy the Kid. He claimed that Garrett had mistakenly killed a man by the name of Billy Barlow. These claims were never verified.
First sold in 1885 at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, Dr Pepper is the oldest soft drink in America. It was soon followed by Coca-Cola (1886), Pepsi-Cola (1898), IBC Root Beer (1919), 7-UP (1929), Sprite (1961), and countless other soft drinks that have long since disappeared from the shelves. In 1929, there were more than 600 lemon-lime soft drinks alone on the market!