No. 436
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 19, 2019

Unsupported Transit.

August 19, 2013
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Photo of Cindy Weber in the "Red Deer Advocate," October 23, 1981, via Newspapers.com Every missing-persons story is tragic, of course. However, I know of few such cases that are both as heart-breakingly sad and utterly peculiar as the following disappearance. It reads like a psychological horror movie, with an almost Fortean ending. People inevitably called Cynthia "Cindy" Weber of
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Strange Company - 8/19/2019

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By Jo Anne Giovino with photography and research by Barbara Morrissey and Kristin Pepe *(All rights reserved, August 2019) Although …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/31/2019

The hanging, and then posthumous beheading and head-spiking, of the Virginia slave Abram lacks any firmer primary date than the signature given this Richmond newspaper report that was later widely reprinted in the young United States. (Our text here hails from the Hartford, Conn. American Mercury, September 18, 1800.) A HORRID MURDER. Capt. John Patterson, […]
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Executed Today - 8/19/2019
Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
(sic) Mary Catherine Anderson—Katie to her friends—was in good spirits when she went out the evening of Monday, February 7, 1887. 16-year-old Katie Anderson was a domestic servant living at the home of her employer, Stat Colkitt on his farm in Mount Holly, New Jersey. She said she was just going out for a walk, but Katie was not seen again until Tuesday morning when a neighboring farmer found
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Murder By Gaslight - 8/17/2019

The neighborhood surrounding St. Mark’s Church on Second Avenue and 10th Street owes its charm to the descendants of the Stuyvesant family. These were the great-great grandsons and granddaughters of Petrus Stuyvesant, the director-general of New Netherland from 1647-1664. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, these Stuyvesants lived in stately houses on land that […]
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Ephemeral New York - 8/19/2019
[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
A Bride’s Toggery. | She Had a High Old Time.

Unsupported Transit.

Occident

In 1872 Eadweard Muybridge photographed champion trotter Occident in mid-trot, answering the age old question of “unsupported transit”— does a running horse ever, simultaneously, have all four hooves off the ground?[more]

Eadweard MuybridgeEadweard Muybridge - 1870.

Leland Stanford, former governor of California and president of the Southern Pacific Railroad had recently added horsemanship to his list of credentials and had become fascinated with all aspects of a horse’s gait. He hired photographer Eadweard Muybridge to capture an image of his fastest trotter, Occident, pulling a sulky at full speed. Muybridge did not think it was possible but Stanford persuaded him to try.

After a number of failed attempts and a few semi-successes, Muybridge finally got the photograph that Stanford wanted. He devised a spring-loaded shutter—a novelty in itself—and attached it to a thread stretched across the track. When the horse made contact with the thread, it would trigger the shutter and expose the plate for a fraction of a second, catching the horse in mid-stride.

The resulting photograph showing Occident with all four hooves in the air was reported in newspapers across America and according to legend, won a $10,000 bet for Leland Stanford. The original photograph has not survived but the image was immortalized by the Currier and Ives print above.

Eadweard Muybridge continued to experimenting with motion photography. His motion studies of animals and humans contributed directly to the development of motion pictures.

He also stood trial for murdering his wife’s lover, but that is a story for another time and place.


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