December 31, 1875, was probably celebrated in the cities of the United States with the usual quota of well-spiked merriment. But some 10,000 citizens of Philadelphia spent the evening in a Pennsylvania Railroad freight depot at Thirteenth and Market Street which had been outfitted with chairs and a platform big enough to hold a choir of 500.
Robert Fogel is best known as one of the two authors of Time on the Cross, a pathbreaking 1974 book that applied statistics and numerical analysis to history to make a provocative and important point: American slavery on the eve of the Civil War was not an economically inefficient, slowly dying system, as was widely believed at the time, but rather a healthy monster that would perish only when the Union’s armies drove a stake through its heart.Read more »
It was the last day of Chanukah, and the family gathering was filled with holiday spirit. Gifts were exchanged, the menorah was lit amid prayers and sacred songs, and then everyone sat down for a festive meal. At one point during the evening, an older member of the family found himself alone in the living room with a young cousin.
A century and a half ago two young girls started hearing noises they said came from beyond the grave—and embarked on a lifetime career that began a national obsession with spiritualism that has lasted to this day
“I looked down at my foot,” Joseph Merrill said, “and saw a white substance the size of a golf ball. As I watched, that golf ball expanded and took features: arms and a head. It was a woman. She passed through me and through my friend Harry. She turned and put her arm around Harry’s shoulder and kissed him on the forehead. Then she passed through the wall.”Read more »