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La Maupin: 17th Century’s France’s Cross-Dressing Duelist Opera Star

The fictional Mademoiselle de Maupin, from 'Six Drawings Illustrating Theophile Gautier's Romance Mademoiselle de Maupin' by Aubrey Beardsley, 1898

'Six Drawings Illustrating Theophile Gautier's Romance Mademoiselle de Maupin' (Aubrey Beardsley, 1898).

La Maupin once scandalized a ball by kissing another woman on the dance floor. She was challenged to a duel by three men, beat them all, and promptly returned to dancing. Jim Burrows is writing a novel about her, and has this account of her life:

La Maupin, 17th century French swordswoman, adventuress and opera star, was like something out of a novel by Dumas or Sabatini, except for two things.

First she was real, and second few authors would have attributed her exploits to a woman.

Theophile Gautier borrowed her name and a few of her characteristics for the heroine of his novel Mademoiselle De Maupin, but in many ways his character was only a pale imitation of the original. The real Maupin was a complex creature.

Well born and privileged, she knew how to use her influential friends and contacts to get what she wanted or to escape danger, but she was also proud and self-reliant.

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Images of 19th Century Paris’s Hell-Themed Café

Manning Krull at Cool Stuff in Paris has posted some rare pictures of a Hell-themed café that was founded in late 19th century Paris.

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Little is known about the establishment, which appears to have operated into the mid-20th century. National Geographic has this to say:

“A hot spot called Hell’s Café lured 19th-century Parisians to the city’s Montmartre neighborhood—like the Marais—on the Right Bank of the Seine. With plaster lost souls writhing on its walls and a bug-eyed devil’s head for a front door, le Café de l’Enfer may have been one of the world’s first theme restaurants. According to one 1899 visitor, the café’s doorman—in a Satan suit—welcomed diners with the greeting, “Enter and be damned!” Hell’s waiters also dressed as devils. An order for three black coffees spiked with cognac was shrieked back to the kitchen as: “Three seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier!”

Next door was a less interesting café called Le Ciel (Heaven). … Read the rest

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Chilean Miners Rescue Saga Exposed as Masonic Mega-Ritual

Vigilant Citizen combs popular culture for hidden esoteric meaning:
The rescue of the 33 unfortunate Chilean miners has definitely turned into an international media event. All aspects of the rescue have been carefully staged to make the entire thing a spectacular show inspiring emotions, admiration and national pride. For those knowledgeable of Masonic and occult symbolism, it is hard not to ponder on the numerological and symbolic facts of the event.
To the initiated, the deep significance of 33 miners being rescued in 33 days could not be more obvious. Can you guess how many characters were used in the first note sent by the miners? Vigilant Citizen has also published dangerous exposés of the Illuminati infiltration of K-Pop, the occult symbolism of Kanye West's Power, and an esoteric interpretation of Pinocchio.
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Before “The Secretary,” Hannah Cullwick was “The Maid”

secmaidCullwick claimed to be able to tell where her husband had been by the taste of his boots. Kathryn Hughes reviews Love and Dirt in the Guardian:

The secret marriage between minor man of letters Arthur Munby and his servant Hannah Cullwick has become one of the great set pieces of 19th-century social history. Whenever a case study is needed to show the sheer weirdness of Victorian men in the bedroom, the story of how the gentlemanly Munby stalked, caught and loved the huge, dirty Cullwick over a period of 40 years is pressed into play … At Munby’s direction, Cullwick produced thousands of pages of letters and memoir which told the strange story of how she came to spend 40 years in a sado-masochistic relationship where her greatest treat was to be allowed to lick her husband’s dirty boots (horse shit was her favourite relish).

Cullwick’s private name for Munby was “massa”, an uneasy term that looked back to her native Shropshire dialect and elided it with that of the negro slave whose blackness she replicated with soot, as much for her own pleasure as for his.

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Children of the Victorian Era, Post-Mortem

If you notice a sleeping or vacantly-staring figure in an antique photograph, it might not strike you to wonder if the subject is even alive. In the 21st century, we rarely see photographs of the dead that are not connected with crime scenes or accidents; dead relatives are instantly removed to funeral homes, where their bodies are embalmed by well-paid specialists. The Victorians, however, were not so disconnected from death, and a common practice was to have portraits taken of the recently-deceased. In these post-mortem photographs, the dead may appear in coffins, but were also quite frequently arranged among family in lifelike poses. As it was a period of extremely high child mortality, images like the ones in this video were often the only keepsakes 19th century families had by which to remember their short-lived sons and daughters:
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Fetus Abductresses Stalk Pregnant Women

Korena Roberts

Korena Roberts

It was June, 2009 and Korena Roberts had let everyone know that she was expecting a baby. Excitedly, she had set about sewing clothes. She had bought formula, a stroller, and parenting magazines. As the big day was drawing near, she invited Heather Snively, an eight months pregnant woman that she had befriended on Craigslist, over to her house to “exchange baby clothes.”

What Snively did not know was that Roberts was not pregnant. Since delivering a stillborn child in 2007, she had become “obsessed with babies, repeatedly watching videos of births on YouTube,” and generally making herself crazy with what she could not have. She had been staging her pregnancy, and Snively was there because it was time to stage a delivery.

The paramedics who arrived at the scene were soon able to determine that Roberts had not given birth. For murdering Snively, extracting her unborn baby and claiming it as her own, she has just been sentenced to life in prison.… Read the rest

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Prison Interview with Glenn Beck-Inspired Gunman

Glenn BeckIn 2008 a Unitarian congregation in Tennessee was fired upon by a reported devotee of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. In the shadow of last summer's "ground-zero mosque" controversy, a NYC cab driver's throat was slashed after he identified himself as a Muslim. Were these the acts of disturbed individuals, already predisposed toward violence, or the natural outcome of so much inflammatory rhetoric being injected into the national discourse? Are hateful demagogues in any way responsible for the criminality of those who take them seriously? John Hamilton of Media Matters raises these questions in a new piece, in which he interviews Byron Williams, a jailed gunman who credits Glenn Beck and Fox for inspiring his ill-fated insurrection against the Tides Foundation and ACLU.
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Mexican Island Inhabited by Creepy Dolls

Delana at Web Urbanist reports on Mexico’s Island of Misfit Toys:

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On a dark and creepy island in the canals of Xochimico near Mexico City sits what might be the world’s strangest and scariest tourist attraction ever. However, this sad island was never meant to be a stop on tourists’ holiday itineraries. The Island of the Dolls was dedicated to the lost soul of a poor little girl who met her fate too soon.

The Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Munecas) sits in the canals south of Mexico City and is the current home of hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences and nearly every available surface. The dolls appear menacing even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark they are particularly haunting.

Not surprisingly, the island’s origins lie in tragedy. The story goes that the island’s only inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a drowned child in the canal some 50 years ago.

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