She was known as ‘The Devil’s Daughter’

A photograph of a large knife
A photograph of a large knife
Photo by wu yi (Unsplash)

Sharon Carr had a difficult upbringing. Her father was a violent drunk and her mother had a terrible temper.

At the age of eleven, she started smoking cannabis and developed a habit of murdering pets in her local area.

But the killing of animals was never enough to satisfy Sharon’s murderous appetite.

The murder of Katie Rackliff

In the summer of 1992, Katie Rackliff split up with her boyfriend. To take her mind off the recent break-up, the eighteen-year-old hairdresser went clubbing on the 6th June with her friends in Camberley, Surrey.

The group of friends enjoyed themselves at the Ragamuffin Nightclub until the early hours of the following morning. …


History

She became a legendary criminal

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Photograph by Alexander Krivitskiy (Pexels — image resized by author)

Sonya Golden Hand wasn’t a typical thief. For one thing, she was a woman. And for another, she was a master of disguise and influence.

Despite coming from an impoverished background herself, she had a knack for integrating with the wealthiest men in the Russian Empire. Using her remarkable intellect and natural beauty, Sonya Golden Hand became a legendary criminal.

Childhood

Given the nature of her work, Sonya was secretive about the details of her life. And though Sonya Golden Hand is her most recognized title, she had a number of aliases throughout her life.

It is generally believed, however, that she was born as Sofia Ivanovna Bluevstein in the mid-nineteenth century in the Warsaw district of the Russian Empire. Some sources claim she was born in 1859, whilst others provide a different date. …


This Roman emperor understood the key to happiness

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Image by Gerd Altmann (Pixabay)

Plato wanted philosophers to be rulers, but this dream never came to fruition in his own lifetime. Five-hundred years after Plato’s death, however, Marcus Aurelius became ruler of the Roman Empire in 161 AD.

Marcus Aurelius was Plato’s philosopher-king made flesh. Meditations — his most popular work — is a self-help text which was never intended for a mass audience. Aurelius simply wanted to record his thoughts and observations for his own benefit.

The text is crammed with timeless wisdom. …


UFO sightings have been around for longer than you might think

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‘The Celestial Phenomenon over Nuremberg’ by Hanns Glaser, 1561 (Wikimedia Commons — image resized by author)

Since the Space Race in the late 1960s, science fiction has formed a key part of popular culture and public imagination. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that the list of known UFO sightings is bottom-heavy with a substantial number of cases occurring in the last sixty years or so.

Indeed, UFO sightings are very much a modern phenomenon; we tend not to associate aliens with the deeper aspects of our past.

But back in the mid-sixteenth century, the people of Nuremberg were treated to an otherworldly scene across the skyline of their city.

The sighting

On April 14th, 1561, several residents of Nuremberg claimed to have seen hundreds of globes, cylinders, rods, and other strange objects at sunrise. …


He played a smart game and outmaneuvered his political opponents

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Photograph of Joseph Stalin by an unknown artist, 1917 (Wikimedia Commons — image resized by author)

Vladimir Lenin died on January 21st, 1924. A leadership contest followed throughout the 1920s in which there were five central competitors: Nikolai Bukharin, Lev Kamenev, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Grigory Zinoviev.

Joseph Stalin, of course, was the winner. However, this wasn’t down to luck. Stalin — for all his faults — was a skilled politician.

Adapting to the times

Before the leadership struggle kicked off, Stalin was against the policy of socialism in one country. Like those on the far-left of the Bolshevik Party, he had previously supported the idea of a global communist revolution.

However, he changed his mind in the mid-1920s. He recognised — unlike some of his opponents — that waiting for a global communist revolution wasn’t very appealing, there was no excitement for such a policy given that the West seemed unlikely to follow suit. The idea of socialism in one country, on the other hand, was empowering. It gave the Bolshevik Party a sense of agency. …


This is how the British dealt with the horrors of trench warfare

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‘Well, If You Knows of a Better ‘Ole, Go to It’ by Bruce Bairnsfather, 1915 (Wikimedia Commons — image resized by author)

During the First World War, the fittest, most courageous soldier was just as vulnerable as his weakest comrade. No matter how much training you received, you could be dead in an instant.

Though machine guns had the capacity to cut down swathes of advancing troops, the First World War was more of an artillery war, with sixty percent of fallen soldiers dying from shellfire rather than bullets or gas. The agency of the soldier, therefore, was massively reduced.

Whilst soldiers spent much of their time away from enemy fire, they knew they would soon come into danger again. This, of course, was mentally and physically taxing for the men on the front lines. …


History

This Egyptian architect was a genius

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Statue of Imhotep by André Alliot. Statue from c. 332–30 BC. Photograph taken in 2019 (Wikimedia Commons)

Imhotep (c. 2667–2600 BCE) was an expert in various academic fields. He was a priest, a poet, a scientist, and vizier to the Djoser of Egypt. He was even seen as a god-like figure by the Greeks, the Romans, and his own Egyptian descendants.

He was a man of many talents, in other words. Yet his greatest achievement arose from his skill as an architect.

The Step Pyramid

Imhotep was the man behind the first Step Pyramid. He selected a site at Saqqara, an area slightly to the west of White Wall (later known as Memphis). …


If you’re going to Malta anytime soon, you should probably reconsider your destination

A dead body with an outstretched hand.
A dead body with an outstretched hand.
Image of a dead body by soumen82hazra (Pixabay)

In July 2016, seventeen-year-old Mike Mansholt travelled with his girlfriend from the German city of Oldenburg to the island of Malta in the south of Europe.

They checked into Astra, a small hotel on the eastern side of the island. The couple spent the next few days enjoying themselves against the picturesque scenery. But rather than returning together, Mike decided to stay for longer and explore the island alone.

His family had no objections to his prolonged stay. They anticipated his return on July 22nd.

But he never came back. The plane arrived and Mike was nowhere to be seen.

The search

In the early hours of the night, the family reported the disappearance to the police in Oldenburg and Mike officially became a missing person. …


The tale of a mad radiologist

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Photo of Carl Tanzler by Stetson Kennedy, 1940 (Wikimedia Commons — image resized by author)

Carl Tanzler was born in 1877 in Dresden, Germany. During his childhood, he claimed to have seen visions. Specifically, he was visited by an old ancestor — Countess Anna Constantia von Cosel (1680–1765) — who showed him the face of his future true love: a beautiful, dark-haired woman.

Tanzler left Germany in 1926. After initially travelling to Cuba, he settled in the United States. Here he worked as a radiologist in the city of Zephyrhills, Florida.

On April 22nd, 1930, he met a twenty-two-year-old patient called Elena Milagro Hoyos. …


The British hate losing their tea, particularly if it’s worth £18,000

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The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor, a lithograph by Nathaniel Currier, 1846 (Wikimedia Commons)

The British Empire was a greedy and powerful enterprise. Driven by a belief in racial superiority and the desire for excessive capital, the British spread their influence across the globe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Challenging British imperialism was a dangerous thing to do. Yet there was one group of men who attacked the empire by targeting one of its most lucrative commodities:

The tea tax

In 1773, the British Parliament introduced the Tea Act. This gave the East India Company the exclusive right to transport tea to British colonies. …

About

Jacob Wilkins

Writer from England. Interested in fiction, history, philosophy, politics, crime, culture.

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