You probably know this one: Mt Vesuvius erupted, not entirely without warning, but far more violently than anticipated, in the year 79 CE (in the reign of Emperor Titus). It is unknown how many people died – the remains of more than a thousand have thus far been discovered, but the population of Pompeii is variously estimated between 10 and 25 thousand people, with another 5000 at Herculaneum.
The eruption buried both towns in ash and mud, altered the course of the river Samo (which had flowed past Pompeii) and pushed the coastline out to sea (so that Pompeii was now inland instead of coastal). It remains the largest and deadliest of over 40 recorded eruptions of Vesuvius, although it appears that there may have been even earlier eruptions on an even greater scale.
Mt Vesuvius remains the only active volcano on the European mainland, most recently erupting on 18 March, 1944. Although the volcano has been quiet since then, it remains active, and future eruptions are regarded as inevitable.
The heroine and role model of every goth woman who ever aspired to the title of Queen Bitch, Countess Elisabet Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman most famous for bathing in the blood of virgins in order to preserve her youthful appearance.
It’s unlikely that Bathory ever actually bathed so, but it is certain that she numbers among the most prolific serial killers of all time, and is possibly the most prolific of female serial killers known to history. Most of her victims were indeed young women (although their virginity or otherwise is a question unlikely ever to be answered).
In 1610, she was arrested along with four of her servants. Three of the servants were later convicted and executed, with the fourth being sentenced to life imprisonment. Bathory herself was never convicted, but remained under the house arrest that had been instituted from the first. Four years later, it appears that she starved herself to death.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, it did so with considerable force. The very shape of the mountain was changed, and the course of the nearby Sarno river was altered. For these reasons, Pompeii – and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum – were lost for centuries.
But in 1599, a attempt to dig an underground channel to modify the river’s course stumbled upon the buried ruins of Pompeii. Over the next few centuries, it would become one of the most well-known archaeological sites in the world, and provide an incredible window back into a time when the Roman Empire was in its heyday.
Jayne Mansfield was one of the great blonde bombshells so beloved of American cinema in the Fifties and Sixties. Along with Mamie van Doren and Marilyn Monroe, Mansfield defined beauty for a generation of American men. By 1967, Mansfield’s star was in decline. Fashions had changed, and left her somewhat behind. She was still a celebrity, but her days of headlining films were coming to an end.
At approximately two thirty in the morning, the car Mansfield was traveling in rear-ended a truck that braked abruptly. Mansfield, her driver Ronnie Harrison and her lover Sam Brophy, all of whom were sitting in the front seat, were killed almost instantly in the impact as the car went under the rear of the truck. Mansfield’s three children, sitting in the backseat, survived with minor injuries.