In late 1918, a group of American soldiers from the 102nd Regiment of the 26th "Yankee" Division patrolled the area around their foxholes in the Argonne Forest of northeastern France, near the Belgian border. The density of the woodlands allowed infiltration by spies and reconnaissance troops, so patrols regularly monitored the area for any German presence. Private John Robert Conroy from Connecticut, one of the patrolling soldiers, was unique among the soldiers of the 102nd because when he shipped off to war, he brought his dog, a tiny terrier mix named Stubby. During the patrol, Stubby broke free without warning, and immediately darted off into the underbrush, barking as he went. Conroy and other American soldiers followed him, and when they found Stubby, his jaws were clamped around buttocks of a German infiltrator, who was mapping out the American trenches when he was surprised by the intrepid Stubby. The spy attempted to flee, but Stubby tripped him up by nipping at his heels. The American soldiers quickly disarmed and captured the insurgent, but Stubby reportedly took quite a bit of convincing before he would let go of the man's rear end.
In a memorable scene from the 1975 movie Jaws, Captain Quint, played by Robert Shaw, tells of his World War II experience on board the USS Indianapolis as it sank in shark-infested waters in 1945. Although the characters in the film were all obviously fictitious, the sinking that Quint described was real, and every inch terrible enough to warrant its inclusion in one of the most horrifying thriller movies ever produced.
For eight years in the early 20th century, a particularly powerful and elusive man-eating leopard haunted the northern Indian village of Rudraprayag at the base of the Himalayas. It developed a taste for humans after eating corpses during the 1918 flu outbreak, in which sheer volume prevented the tradition of cremation from disposing of every dead body; once the disease subsided and the animal could no longer find dead bodies, it took to live humans instead. The leopard found the area around Rudraprayag, with a population of roughly 50,000 people and its position on a major pilgrimage route through the mountains. In a period of almost eight years from its first attack on June 9, 1918 until its last on April 14, 1926, it officially killed roughly 125 people, though the actual number was probably much higher. News of the attacks and the ensuing panic spread as far as London.
Henry Fielding was born in Somerset, England, 1707 to an aristocratic family which soon found itself out of money and out of luck. His mother died when he was ten, and his father, a General in King George's Army, died penniless not long after. At the age of 12, his maternal grandmother sent him to Eton for schooling, where he learned the art of writing, with an eye toward the satirical. In the summer of 1725, he and James Lewis, his servant, were involved in a brawl over Sara Andrews, a 15-year-old heiress with whom Henry was infatuated. Two months later, he convinced James to help him abduct Sara on her way to church along with another man named Andrew Tucker; they failed, and while the constables captured James not long after, Henry drew up some leaflets ridiculing Andrew and his family, posted them up about town, and then ran away.
No one knows exactly what caused the first small flame in the southwestern corner of the main circus tent in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 6, 1944, but partially obscured by the bleachers, it quickly grew before bursting forth during a packed show on a hot summer day. Karl Wallenda, whose family of trapeze artists were performing under the Big Top, was one of the first to see it, and his reaction prompted Bandleader Merle Evans to play "Stars and Stripes Forever", the universal circus disaster signal. Ushers attempted to extinguish the flame, but the tent had been meticulously waterproofed with paraffin soaked in gasoline, and the entire tent burst into flames within seconds.