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Ponzi scheme: An investment swindle in which high profits are promised from fictitious sources and early investors are paid off with funds raised from later ones. - Named after Charles Ponzi (1882-1949), a speculator who organized such a scheme during 1919-1920. He was neither the first nor the last person to float this or a similar scheme, just someone who did it on a massive scale. There is a long, long list of Ponzi schemes in history. Earliest documented use: 1920.

from The Splendid Table

How Nikolay Vavilov, the seed collector who tried to end famine, died of starvation

Nikolay Vavilov collected more seeds, tubers and fruits from around the world than any other person in history.

This photograph, which illustrates the adaptation of physiognomic measurement by Nazi "race scientists," was published on the cover of the Neue Illustrierte Zeitung on June 1, 1933, above the headline: "Who Is an Aryan? A Fascist Experiences the National Revolution."

Rhineland massacres: Not all crusaders who had run out of supplies resorted to murder; some, like Peter the Hermit, used extortion instead. While no sources claim he preached against the Jews, he carried a letter with him from the Jews of France to the community at Trier. The letter urged them to supply provisions to Peter and his men. The Solomon bar Simson Chronicle records that they were so terrified by Peter’s appearance at the gates that they readily agreed to supply his needs.

Until his dying day, Thomas Stoddart swore he saw Gold Lake with its gold nuggets shining from the bottom, although he never was able to show the crowd of hundreds who demanded he prove the lake’s existence. He was an eccentric man with a wild history...

Eva and Leana Munzer These two little Jewish girls have a very sad story. Their parents left them with a non-jewish family who took care of them. Then the husband and wife had a fight and the husband betrayed them to the SS, who captured the girls and sent them to Auschwitz, where they - like most small children - were gassed upon arrival. Their little brother, Alfred, however, survived.

from EyeSeeMe African American Children's Bookstore

The Tuskegee Airmen: Freedom Flyers of World War II

Demonic entity photographed during a séance at Retchford House, 1933. The medium, Elizabeth Stolwort, had been reported missing a week after the events that night and was eventually found in a woodland nearby her home. Massive blood loss was the cause of death due to several deep lacerations across the body and both eyes had been violently gouged out. The Retchford house was known as a cursed abode.