No. 661
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 25, 2024

The Terrific Leap at Niblo’s Garden, From an Aerial Apparatus.

The original and daring aerial representation by Thomas Hanlon, now performed by him every evening a
January 11, 2016
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Tag: African Americans

They Are a Bad Lot.

The frightful picture of crime and debauchery which has given notoriety to Mary Jane Cawley’s backwoods dive at Cookstown, N. J.

7/27/2015

The “Prisoners’ March.”

Pennsylvania - Scene in the Schuylkill County Prison at Pottsville - The "Prisoners' March" for exercise in the corridor.

9/17/2013

George Dixon’s Victory over Australian Billy.

2/26/2013
Via Newspapers.com There are a number of stories of churches haunted by spectral organists.  This example appeared in the "Ottawa Citizen," October 24, 1956:TORQUAY, England--The vicar says that when Henry plays the organ in vine-covered St. John's Church the music is something, but you can't help noticing you can see right through him. The vicar, Rev. Anthony Rouse, reported the
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Strange Company - 7/24/2024
Included in yesterday’s trip to Fall River was a stop at Miss Lizzie’s Coffee shop and a visit to the cellar to see the scene of the tragic demise of the second Mrs. Lawdwick Borden and two of the three little children in 1848. I have been writing about this sad tale since 2010 and had made a previous trip to the cellar some years ago but was unable to get to the spot where the incident occured to get a clear photograph.  The tale of Eliza Borden is a very sad, but not uncommon story of post partum depression with a heartrending end. You feel this as you stand in the dark space behind the chimney where Eliza ended her life with a straight razor after dropping 6 month old Holder and his 3 year old sister Eliza Ann into the cellar cistern. Over the years I have found other similar cases, often involving wells and cisterns, and drownings of children followed by suicides of the mothers. These photos show the chimney, cistern pipe, back wall, dirt and brick floor, original floorboards forming the cellar ceiling and what appears to be an original door. To be in the place where this happened is a sobering experience. My thanks to Joe Pereira for allowing us to see and record the place where this sad occurrence unfolded in 1848. R.I.P. Holder, Eliza and Eliza Ann Borden. Visit our Articles section above for more on this story. The coffee shop has won its suit to retain its name and has plans to expand into the shop next door and extend its menu in the near future.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
The low-rise, mostly commercial stretch of Brooklyn’s 18th Avenue running through Bensonhurst has a historic feel. That’s due in part to the circa-1829 New Utrecht Reformed Church and replica Liberty Pole facing the avenue. But a pocket park a few blocks away at 18th Avenue and 82nd Street contains an even more curious artifact from […]
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Ephemeral New York - 7/22/2024
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
 On Saturday, January 25, 1879, George Rowell returned home to Montville, Maine, from a trip to Bath, eighteen miles away. He lived in the house owned by John and Salina McFarland, a married couple in their seventies. Rowell, 40, married their son’s widowed wife, Abby, who had a 14-year-daughter, Cora McFarland. She also had an infant son with Rowell. All six lived together in the Montville
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Murder By Gaslight - 7/20/2024
CHIEF OF CONSThe Morning Times(Cripple Creek, Colorado)February 15, 1896Courtesy of Mitch Morrissey ig Ed Burns robs a dying man?      Mitch Morrissey, a Facebook friend and historian for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, found and published an interesting newspaper piece on "Big Ed" Burns, one of the most notorious characters in the West. Burns was a confidence man and
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 4/2/2024
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately … Continue reading
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet. | Pugilistic Females.

The Terrific Leap at Niblo’s Garden, From an Aerial Apparatus.

Terrific Leap

 

The original and daring aerial representation by Thomas Hanlon, now performed by him every evening at Niblo's Garden. [more]

It is very seldom that we have to chronicle such a feat as that which we illustrate in our present number, and which is nightly performing at Niblo’s Garden. It is universally acknowledged as being the chef d’oeuvre of gymnastic genius. Although no description can do justice to it, we will endeavor to give our readers some idea of Thomas Hanlon’s magnificent daring. He first performs many gymnastic feats, perfectly marvelous, with and upon six sticks connected together and swinging in the air. He hangs by the nape of the neck, by the toes, by the knees, in every possible attitude leaping and winding through the sticks or short ladder and recovering his balance with great adroitness. Every gymnast will bear witness that, considering the many chances of falling which the acrobat runs and against which no skill can guard, this is beyond question the most terrifically dangerous exhibition ever seen in New York. The enthusiastic delight with which it has been received by crowded houses and applause, shows that its danger as well as the skill displayed were fully appreciated.

After thus astounding this audience, he suddenly darts from the slender platform, and taking a terrific leap, grasps a rope at least twenty feet distance, which hangs form the rigging loft of theatre, and after swinging on it for some short time, lets himself down on the stage. This appalling act of labor and ingenuity must be seen to be appreciated; the most elaborate description sounds tame after witnessing it, and when seen it takes the breath away from the spectator, since, should he miss his hold nothing could save him from instant destruction. It is undoubtedly the boldest, the most reckless gymnastic feat ever attempted.


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 28, 1860.