No. 465
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 01, 2020

Surf Swimming at Hawaii, Sandwich Islands.

Faahee, or surf-swimming, is a favorite pastime with the natives of the Sandwich Islands.
April 21, 2015
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Via Newspapers.com I heartily dislike most practical jokes--they generally are nothing more than dressed-up sadism--so April Fool’s Day generally ranks with me somewhere between root canals and dropping an anvil on my foot. This little sermon from the March 31, 1901 “Chicago Tribune” is equally sympathetic to this most perverse of holidays: Because some time before the beginning of the
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Strange Company - 4/1/2020

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When New York’s first cholera epidemic hit in 1832 and killed 3,515 people (out of a population of 250,000), the poor took the blame. “Many city officials implicated the residents of the poorest neighborhoods for contracting cholera, blaming their weak character, instead of viewing the epidemic as a public health problem,” stated Anne Garner, in […]
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Ephemeral New York - 3/29/2020

Polish mass murderer Ryszard Sobok hanged in Wroclaw on this date in 1984. The horror of the little village of Walim, Sobok suddenly slaughtered six intimates from February 11 to 12, 1981. On the former date, Sobok strangled his seven-month-pregnant mistress Krystyna Nykiel along with Krystyna’s 16-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. They had a fractured […]
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Executed Today - 3/31/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Elizabeth Ragan As Arthur Ragan lay dying of a stomach ailment, in Piqua, Ohio, on April 3, 1855, his wife, Elizabeth took the physician aside and told him she believed her husband had poisoned himself. She said she thought the cream of tartar he had been taking for his stomach was actually arsenic. Mr. Ragan died that day, and a post-mortem examination proved his wife correct, he had
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Murder By Gaslight - 3/28/2020

Felix B. Mulgrew 7/30/1854 - 5/30/1915 Karen Hendricks collection (Click image to enlarge) ELIX B. MULGREW friend or victim of Soapy Smith's? Karen Hendricks is the great-great-granddaughter of Felix B. Mulgrew. Mulgrew was a newspaper man, entrepreneur, Klondiker, and had some running correspondence with his friend, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. Through Karen we learn
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/30/2020
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
Said She Would and Did. | Society Women Turn Burglars.

Surf Swimming at Hawaii, Sandwich Islands.

Surf Swimming

Surf Swimming at Hawaii, Sandwich Islands. [more]

Faahee, or surf-swimming, is a favorite pastime with the natives of the Sandwich Islands. According to Ellis, a recent writer, “Individuals of all ranks and ages, and both sexes, follow this sport with great avidity. They usually select the openings in the reefs or entrances of some of the hays, where the long, heavy billows rolled in unbroken majesty upon the reef or the shore. They used a small board, which they called papa faahee—swam from the beach to a considerable distance, sometimes nearly a mile—watched the swell of the wave, and when it reached them, they mounted on its summit, and amid the foam and spray rode on the crest of the wave to the shore; sometimes they halted among the coral rocks, over which the waves broke in splendid confusion. When they approached the shore, they slid off the board, which they grasped in the hand, and either fell behind the wave or plunged toward the deep and allowed it to pass over their heads.

“Sometimes they were thrown with violence upon beach, or among the rocks on the edges of the reef. So much at home, however, do they feel in the water, that it is seldom any accident occurs.

“I have often seen among the border of the reef, forming the boundary line to the harbor of Fare in Huahine, from 50 to 100 persons, of all ages, sporting like so many porpoises in the surf that has been rolling with foam and violence toward the land; sometimes mounted on top of the wave, and almost enveloped in spray, at other times plunging beneath the mass of water that has swept like mountains over them, cheering and animating each other ;and by the noise and shouting they made, rendering the roar of the sea and the dashing of the surf comparatively imperceptible.”

 


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, April 7, 1866.