No. 458
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 27, 2020

Unsupported Transit.

August 19, 2013
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As regular readers of my blog (all three of you) may have noticed, I have, without really intending to, built a subcategory of stories of people who are found strangely, inexplicably dead. All these cases are puzzling, but there are few that top the end of an otherwise completely normal man named Zigmund Adamski. In fact, some will tell you his death was positively otherworldly. Zigmund
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Strange Company - 1/27/2020

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(Click image to enlarge) new quote attributed to bad man "Soapy" Smith Discovered in an edition of the Alaska Mining Record, April 5, 1899. ______________________ The sensational press of the east are now engaging in some real pipe dreams of their own, and allow a column or two of Canadian and American fights on the Atlin and Porcupine border to creep into their paper. One
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/16/2020

Never heard of “Raisin Street” in Greenwich Village? If you lived in the nascent city of New York in the early years of the 19th century, you might have traversed it. The rise and demise of this little street has a curious backstory. “Raisin Street” was a corruption of “Reason Street,” the name given to […]
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Ephemeral New York - 1/27/2020
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
The Rogers family were early settlers in Blue Lick Springs, Kentucky, having fought a bloody battle with Indians to secure their homestead. They never lost their frontier zeal for violence as a tool for solving problems, even for family disputes which, apparently, were frequent and quite intense. In the 1880s, Willis Rogers had eight children, five boys and three girls. In the heat of an
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Murder By Gaslight - 1/25/2020

Blood accumulates upon us. Verily, it does seem that the reins of justice have been loosely thrown to the devil, and that we are all driving at breakneck speed in the same direction. -Nashville Banner (via) On this date in 1866, four youths employed as teamsters in the Army corrals of Union-occupied Nashville were hanged […]
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Executed Today - 1/26/2020
[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
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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