Thursday, 10 March 2016

On This Day Facts 10th March


On This Day in 1762, Jean Calas, the French Huguenot, died after being tortured by the French authorities who were trying to extract a confession from him.
They wanted Jean Calas to admit to the murder of his son, who was later found to have committed suicide.
There was overwhelming evidence the death of Jean's son was a suicide. Yet, because Jean Calas was a protestant in a Roman Catholic society, the authorities assumed, and pushed, his guilt.
During his torture, his arms and legs were stretched, to the point they were pulled from their sockets.
He also suffered what certain modern authorities don't consider torture: Extreme Waterboarding.
It is said he had more than thirty pints of water poured down his throat.
If that wasn't enough, Jean Calas was then dragged from his cell to the cathedral square. He was tied to a cross. His legs were then broken, twice, by an iron bar. His arms were next.
During his torture, he was continuously asked to admit his guilt. To tell them he had killed his son. And, even though Jean Calas was undergoing an extreme amount of pain, he refused to admit his guilt and repeated his innocence as often as he could manage.
It was after this miscarriage of justice that the famous writer, Voltaire, began a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform.
Three years later, on the 9th of March, 1765, Jean Calas was exonerated of murdering his son, after a long campaign by Voltaire to prove his innocence and have his conviction overturned.
On This Day in 1804, A formal ceremony is held in St. Louis, Missouri, celebrating the transfer of ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States of America.
It became known, and is still celebrated today, as the Louisiana Purchase.
On This Day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish inventor, and prank-caller, made the first ever successful telephone call.
His first words were: Spank me, Watson. Spank me real good.
Alexander Graham Bell's actual first were:
Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.
On This Day in 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He tried to retract his plea later, but failed.
James Earl Ray was convicted on his 41st birthday. He initially entered a guilty plea, as this would mean no jury trial. At the time, if he had been found guilty by a jury trial, he would have been sentenced to the death penalty.
He later attempted to retract his guilty plea and asked for a retrial. The recanting of his plea and a new trial were denied. James Earl Ray died in prison in 1998, serving a 99 year sentence, of a hepatitis C infection.
On This Day in 1977, Astronomers observing Uranus discover the planet has rings. Yes, there are rings around Uranus. Sounds painful. Get it treated.
On This Day in 1980, Jean Harris, a headmistress from Madeira School, shot and killed a Scarsdale diet doctor, Herman Tarnower. Dieting isn't always good for you. Or the doctor trying to get you to lose weight.
On This Day in 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars. And, would you know it, no one was home. All the Martians had left a million years ago.

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