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October 31: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

October 31, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1870, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The [New York] Star industriously and successfully provides its increasing constituency with fresh and timely topics vigorously treated. In its illustrated edition yesterday it tells with thrilling effect the story of a human vampire who sumptuously feasted on the blood of his fellow boarders in a house on Twenty-fourth street. The Star vouches for the exact truth of the narrative except as to names. There is a wholesome moral application of the horrible story, which readers will not fail to make, although the Star omits to indicate it. The meaning of the allegory is obvious. The gloating monster in the engraving is plainly the double-headed New York [Tweed] Ring, fastened upon the neck of the sleeping victim, the unsuspecting Public. The blood-sucker of Twenty-fourth street represents the aggregation of blood-suckers in the City Hall. It remains to be seen whether the parallel will be completed in one particular. In the Star’s illustrated story, the victim’s friend surprises the vampire in his loathsome repast in time to save the victim’s life. The Public is not aroused from its stupor and seems to enjoy the bleeding process so thoroughly that it will probably submit to it indefinitely.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1897, the Eagle reported, “Edgar Mayhew Bacon, a well-known writer, has been living in Tarrytown and, having become excusably attached to that warm and tranquil spot, has wreaked expression about it in a book named ‘Chronicles of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.’ … Among the incidents found in his history is one pertaining to Brom Bones, the villain in Washington Irving’s tragedy of Ichabod Crane’s ride. Brom was really Uncle Abr’m Van Tassel, and when somebody at the grocery told him Mr. Irving had put him into a book he was in great wrath, and grasping his big cane he started for the door saying that he was ‘goin’ to lick that writer feller till he couldn’t see.’ It is not recorded that the author ever succeeded in getting his thrashing.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1926, the Eagle reported, “CONSTANTINOPLE (A.P.) — In remote districts of Turkey, quaint customs still linger, despite Angora’s vigilant modernizing aim. One of the strangest is in the distant village of Casaree. Whenever a death occurs a public crier shouts the news through the streets. Even though the death occurs in the depths of the night, the crier immediately shouts out the doleful tidings and wakes all the living villagers with his cries. The post of Public Death Crier was established many years ago by the Evkaf, an official organization controlling religious affairs, which still continues to pay the crier a regular salary for the performance of his grisly duty.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1934, the Eagle reported, “Dr. Raymond L. Ditmars always has something to say when he sits down to write, and ‘Confessions of a Scientist’ in no wise disappoints those who have come to expect of him not only sound instruction but honest and, at times, even thrilling entertainment … He has to tell the Associated Press every once in a while that he doesn’t believe in sea monsters of the prehistoric sort, but is inclined to think that perhaps the Loch Ness creature of recent cables may have been a large seal which had worked its way into the loch’s fresh water. Seals, it seems, not infrequently have been able to adapt themselves to fresh water after salt. The North Atlantic hooded seal, large, gifted with the peculiar ability to inflate its head ‘into a grotesque shape,’ may have been the monster, but one ventures to say that the good Scots who gave to the world the Loch Ness mystery will not be content with any so plausible an explanation.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1951, the Eagle reported, “‘The Day the Earth Stood Still,’ in all its fearful fantasy, arrived today at the Albee Theater, Flying Saucer, Space Man, eight-foot robot and all. This is the latest science-fiction thriller, here to astound (scare, maybe) Brooklyn after a long premiere run on Broadway. Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Billy Gray and Sam Jaffe have the main roles. Rennie plays the Space Man, who arrives in Washington, D.C., in a saucer-shaped contraption that took off from some unnamed planet about 250,000,000 miles away … The Space Man has come on a peace mission but he also has a warning message for the earth. Back where he comes from, he lets it be known, the inhabitants are worried about the earth’s constant state of turmoil, and at the advance in earth-made rockets and other space spanners. They’re afraid that earth people will try to bring their weapons and warfare to other planets, and Rennie warns that if we try anything like that, the earth will be destroyed by these space people, who have better weapons than we have, as his pal the robot has demonstrated.”

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Piper Perabo
Greg Allen/Invision/AP
Willow Smith
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include journalist Dan Rather, who was born in 1931; singer-songwriter Tom Paxton, who was born in 1937; “Alias” star Ron Rifkin, who was born in 1939; “Caddyshack” star Brian Doyle-Murray, who was born in 1945; “Interview with the Vampire” star Stephen Rea, who was born in 1946; “Days of Our Lives” star Deidre Hall, who was born in 1947; journalist Jane Pauley, who was born in 1950; football coach Nick Saban, who was born in 1951; “Trapper John, M.D.” star Brian Stokes Mitchell, who was born in 1957; producer and director Peter Jackson, who was born in 1961; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Larry Mullen Jr. (U2), who was born in 1961; former “Saturday Night Live” star Rob Schneider, who was born in 1963; “Coyote Ugly” star Piper Perabo, who was born in 1976; “American Pie” star Eddie Kaye Thomas, who was born in 1980; and singer and actress Willow Smith, who was born in 2000.

Peter Jackson
Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

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INTO THE MYSTIC: Harry Houdini died on this day in 1926. Born Ehrich Weisz in 1874, the legendary magician, illusionist and escape artist died of peritonitis in Detroit following a blow to the abdomen on Oct. 19. The anniversary of his death is an occasion for meetings of magicians.

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I HEAR YOU KNOCKING: Today is National Knock-Knock Joke Day. Celebrated in tandem with Halloween, it answers the age-old question “Who’s there?” and it’s a day for kids of all ages to try out their best jokes. Knock yourself out!

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

Quotable:

“When thoroughly reliable people encounter ghosts, their stories are difficult to explain away.”

— author C.B. Colby, who died on this day in 1977


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