Romeo Vitelli's Comments

The Burke and Hare case was what ultimately brought the entire bodysnatching industry into public view. It also thoroughly ruined the medical career of Dr. Robert Knox whose house was destroyed by an angry mob and ultimately chased out of Scotland.
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The troops who surrounded the barn where John Wilkes Booth and his fellow fugitive were hiding were under orders to take Booth alive. That's why the barn was set on fire to flush them out. Corbett violated orders by shooting Booth although he would claim that he had seen Booth aiming at a fellow soldier (other eyewitnesses disputed this). Charges against Corbett were later dropped by Secretary of War Edward Stanton. Corbett gloried in being "Lincoln's Avenger" and nothing would infuriate him later in life more than hearing rumours that John Wilkes Booth had somehow escaped to England.
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It's hard to say for sure what happened in William James Sidis' case or whether he actually "burned out" as such. His arrest over a largely trumped-up charge in 1919 and his parents' attempt at "correcting" his behaviour by placing him in their private sanatorium seemed to leave him with a lifelong paranoia. He also had an animosity towards towards the press which continued to represent him as a burnt-out genius although Sidis continued publishing a series of eclectic works under pseudonyms that still attracts a cult following.
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Saw it last year as it happens. It's worth a visit but the obstacle course of beggars and street vendors that you have to get through is pretty horrendous. I thought the engineering problem had already been fixed though. No way the Indian government would let a major tourist attraction collapse.
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She was definitely a pioneer in the use of statistics in medicine. That was why she was elected as the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society (and an honorary member of the American Statistical Association). Not bad, considering that she was an almost total invalid by then.
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Profile for Romeo Vitelli

  • Member Since 2012/08/04



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