Today in History – August 18

1590 – John White, the governor of the Roanoke Colony, returned from a supply trip to England and found his settlement deserted.

1612 – The trial of the Pendle witches, one of England’s most famous witch trials, began at Lancaster Assizes.

1634 – Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, was burned alive in Loudun, France.

1783 – A huge fireball meteor was seen across Great Britain as it passed over the east coast.

1817 – 60-70ft sea serpent sightings were reported offshore in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

1868 – French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered helium.

1903 – German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flew his self-made, motored gliding airplane four months before the first flight of the Wright brothers.

1920 – The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

1923 – First British Track and Field championships for women, London.

1937 – The first FM radio construction permit was issued (W1X0J (WGTR) in Boston MA).

1938 – The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York, United States with Ontario, Canada over the Saint Lawrence River, was dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1940 – Battle of Britain: The air battle known as “The Hardest Day” occurred; the German Luftwaffe lost approximately 69 aircraft and the RAF lost 68 in one of the largest ever air battles.

1956 – Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel” reached #1 in the charts.

1958 – Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita was published in the United States.

1960 – The Beatles gave their first public performance at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany.

1962 – Peter, Paul & Mary released their first hit “If I Had a Hammer”.

1963 – Civil rights movement: James Meredith became the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi.

1969 – Mick Jagger was accidentally shot while filming “Ned Kelly”.

1969 – Woodstock Festival closed with Jimi Hendrix / Band of Gypsys as final act; other performers included Joe Cocker, Country Joe MacDonald & The Fish, The Band, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and Sha Na Na.

1971 – Vietnam War: Australia and New Zealand decided to withdraw their troops from Vietnam.

1973 – Drummer Gene Krupa played for the final time with the Benny Goodman Quartet.

1976 – The Korean axe murder incident in Panmunjom resulted in the deaths of two US Army officers.

1982 – Longest baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL, ended after 22 innings – before LA Dodgers beat Cubs 2-1 (game started Aug 17th).

1988 – Largest house (130 rooms) on Long Island sold for $22 million.

2003 – One-year-old Zachary Turner was murdered in Newfoundland by his mother, who was awarded custody despite facing trial for the murder of Zachary’s father. The case was documented in the film Dear Zachary and led to reform of Canada’s bail laws.

2017 – Civilian researchers led by Paul Allen re-discovered the USS Indianapolis 18,000 feet below the Pacific surface, 72 years after it was sunk by Japanese torpedoes.

2019 – One hundred activists, officials, and other concerned citizens in Iceland held a funeral for the Okjökull glacier, which had completely melted after once covering six square miles.

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