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From the Darkside

This category contains 15 posts

A Magical History Tour of Maryland

Almost one hundred years ago, the world famous magician Harry Houdini dazzled a crowd of 50,000 with one of his signature death-defying escape acts. On April 26, 1916, Houdini freed himself from a straitjacket as he dangled upside down, sixty feet above the sidewalk from a cornice of The Sun building in Baltimore. City police [...]

A Safe Harbor: The Port Mission in Fells Point

The Southeastern Baltimore neighborhood of Fells Point was, until recent years, a rough and tumble sort of place – a sharp contrast to what is today an upscale and historically charming part of the city. Sailors, arriving from all corners of the world, crowded into rowdy saloons and bawdy boarding houses while awaiting the next [...]

It’s the Slime: Maryland’s Food Pioneer, Dr. Robert Krauss

Though at first glance this post seems anticipatory of Halloween, it is actually topical for an altogether different reason—October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. I am not a vegetarian myself, but my colleague and fellow underbellian Joe Tropea is. So after subjecting him to watching me inhale many a lunch of Maryland Crab at Soups On, or [...]

Return of the Whipping Post: Mining the Museum

(This is the second part of a two part series – The first part of the story was posted on October 3, 2013 and can be read here.) When a museum acquires an artifact, it often goes directly into some dark storage area never to see the light of day again. This was the case [...]

“Only the Instrument of the Law”: Baltimore’s Whipping Post

On a cold March day, three blue-clad guards strapped Baltimore printer Clyde Miller to a cross-shaped wooden post in the Baltimore City Jail, arms outstretched and naked to the waist. As 50 witnesses looked on, Miller was brutally flogged 20 times with a cat o’ nine tails—a whip with multiple knotted thongs—at a rate of [...]

The Death of Topsy: a book review

Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison. Atlantic Monthly Press, 369 pages, $27.                                       If there’s one thing you can say/About Mankind/There’s nothing kind about man — Tom Waits [...]

Ocean City: The Great March Storm of 1962

“This is the worst disaster in the history of Maryland in my time,” declared Maryland Governor Millard Tawes in March of 1962 as he surveyed the remnants of Ocean City by helicopter following one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the eastern seaboard of the United States. The nor’easter that bombarded the Atlantic [...]

Double, Double Toil and Trouble: Witchcraft in Maryland

The perilous waters of the Atlantic Ocean condemned Maryland’s first witch. The Charity of London set sail for the New World in 1654 from England with her crew and small group of passengers looking to settle the new colony. Mary Lee was one such passenger, but she never set foot on Maryland’s shores. Travelers knew [...]

The Velvet Kind: The Sweet Story of Hendlers Creamery

July in Maryland can be truly miserable. The temperature sizzles at over 100 degrees for days on end. Humidity weighs down the most ardent of breezes. Luckily for the sweaty masses, July is also National Ice Cream Month. So in honor of the vaunted occasion, here’s the scoop on the history of the frosty treat [...]

Ocean City: The Great Hurricane of 1933

Two weeks ago, literally minutes before we published our Ocean City post, we made a serendipitous find. While working on an unrelated patron request we stumbled across a film entitled Ocean City Hurricane, 1933  in our rich a/v collection. Not only does this film contain great before and after footage of the storm, it also captures [...]