Historical Oddities and Tidbits


The Wests:

William West and William West

William West and William West were no relatives. And apart from their names, they looked exactly alike, as if they were identical twins. Then, their paths through life crossed in 1903, at Leavenworth Prison, Kansas, United States, where they met as prisoners, to fulfill a certain destiny.

After some initial confusion, the authorities at Leavenworth realised they had two different individuals, with the exact same names, that looked exactly like each other. The duo, thus, made history and were part of the reason why fingerprints are, today, used as identification. The science has since further developed into other biometric forms of identification, with new advances in technology.

The tombstone of Walter Summerford, still struck by lightening, four years after his death.

Walter Summerford

Major Walter Summerford was a British officer who fought in the First World War. He survived the war, was struck by lightning twice and twice paralysed by the bolt, in different parts of his body, but survived both strikes.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, a bolt of lightning surging through one’s body can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly five times hotter than the sun’s surface, with the odds of one being struck by the bolt, in one’s lifetime, put at 1 in 13,000. Though the mortality rate from strikes is low, survivors are usually left with fundamental cardiovascular and neurological complications.

Summerford pulled through it all, regained the use of his legs and walked again, but not for too long. He suffered a third strike in the summer of 1930, as he took a stroll through a park in Vancouver, Canada, where he had since moved. For the third time in his life, he was struck yet again by a lightening bolt that left him completely paralysed. He soldiered on, nonetheless, for two more years, battling complications arising from his third strike, until he finally succumbed to death in 1932.

However, the bolt was not done with him yet. Even after he was interred at the Mountain View Cemetery, in Vancouver, it still went after what was left of the dead officer. On a spring night of 1936, four clear years after his death, a flash of lightening descended from the skies and, of all places in the entire cemetery, found its way to the grave of Walter Summerford and cracked open its tombstone.


The Worth Of Black Lives In the 19th Century


The Bolekaja

“Mobile coffins”, as some chose to call them, back those days, (mostly in the 1960s and 70s) when the ‘bolekaja’, literally, come down let’s fight, was one of the means of transportation back those days, in Lagos, Nigeria.

But…obladi-oblada, life rolled on, even better than these days when things are supposed to have greatly improved, right in the 21st century. Indeed, it was a joy to be young, those days.

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