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From the Crazy Vault

Dulles Airport Hijacking

Arthur G. Barkley was an unemployed bread truck driver from Phoenix hijacked a Washington-bound TWA jet, demanding $100 million in ransom. He was distraught from losing his job, became embroiled in lawsuits against his employer, the Teamsters Union, and the...

Traffic on I-66

What Is Nestoring?

Autumn 1984, Washington DC – It was the best of times, it was the worst of traffic. In September of 1984, The Washington Post published a story about a horrendous Beltway accident. Though numerous letters were published in response to...

Congressman Wilbur Mills and exotic dancer Fanne Foxe speak with reporters outside Foxe’s dressing room in 1974. (Bettmann Archive via Getty Images)

Arkansas Congressman and the Argentine Stripper

I watched The Front Runner this weekend, the story about Gary Hart’s implosion of a presidential campaign in 1988. What a fascinating movie and slightly prescient of the tabloid times we live in today. It got me wondering about other...

Flying Saucers Over the Capitol and White House

The hot summer of 1952 witnessed some bizarre lights floating over the District. Evidently for many nights in July, sightings were reported of up to seven lights flying around the night sky, including over the Capitol Building. Radar operators claimed...

NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade

NSA Allows Homosexual to Stay

When this headline hit the papers in 1980, it was a big deal. A really big deal. Being gay was something that would disqualify you from holding a security clearance. Below are excerpts from the article printed on December 30th...

Marijuana

Marijuana and Alcohol Consumed by Kids in Silver Spring

This is a bizarre and disappointing article that we dug up in The Washington Post. It was printed on April 2nd, 1977. Montgomery County school officials have learned that a small group of children–six sixth-graders and a third-grader–were smoking marijuana and...

Takoma Park Bans Guns, Dogs, and Weeds

This is a bizarre piece we found in The Washington Post from July 18th, 1928. And no, we’re not talking about that weed. The town fathers of Takoma Park, Md., have declared war on wild guns, wild dogs and wild weeds....

Washington Post - April 29th, 1895

Where Was Herring Hill in Georgetown?

We once had a neighborhood called Herring Hill? True story. It was named for the fish pulled from Rock Creek, which, I don’t think are quite as plentiful today. Herring hill was the epicenter of the African-American community in eastern...

Washington Post headline

Shots End Alexandria Saloon Brawl

The sub headline for this article was “Walter Bryant Hurls Beer Bottle and Edward Bryant Uses Pistol.” Who do you think won that fight? We dug up this wild article in The Washington Post, printed on April 24th, 1908. Three days...

Washington Post headline - December 29th, 1924

Man Killed and Gunman Seized in Daylight Brawl

Below is a story we came across from The Washington Post, printed on December 29th, 1924. Remember, this was during the depths of Prohibition, so beer was non-alcoholic (and pretty terrible). George King and Joe Nally, said by police to be...

Inside of lodging house and opium den in San Francisco, 1890s (Wikipedia)

Police Raid Opium Den on 10th St. NW

This is probably a headline we wouldn’t see today. We found this in The Washington Post, printed on September 10th, 1894. A big opium joint, which had existed for three months at 425 Tenth street northwest, was raided about 10:30 o’clock...

Potomac River

Tragic Potomac Drowning Ends Romance

This is a sad story that we came across in The Washington Postfrom June 29th, 1908. John McCalip, 22 years old, an electrician, at the Senate office building, was drowned yesterday while swimming in Broad Creek, on the Maryland side of...

Georgetown waterfront

Drunken Sailor Creates Smallpox Scare in Georgetown

This isn’t the measles scare of today’s California. This was an article that we dug up in The Washington Post from May 3rd, 1881. For some historical context, a week before Billy the Kid escaped from jail in Lincoln County, New...

Naked wild man

Who Was the Naked Wild Man of Tennallytown?

The newspapers during the summer of 1894 were full of bizarre stories about a wild man wandering the vicinity of Tennallytown (when was it renamed Tenleytown?). Beginning on July 22nd, sightings of a “half-nude crazy man” were happening across the area, so...

Tornado Severely Damages D.C. in 1927

On November 17th, 1927 a large tornado ripped through the area, destroying over 200 homes in D.C. and 300 structures in Alexandria. Up to 50 people were injured, but we only found one reported death, which was the result of...

sign at the National Zoo

Lost Children Will Be Taken to the Lion House

Here is an amusing (though I don’t believe intentionally) sign that was posted in the National Zoo. The photo was taken in May of 1943. This reminds me of the crazy post we did a while back on the woman...

October 29, 1925. Washington, D.C. "Melvin Jones, 5, who pierced heart with scissors."

Boy Pierces Self in Heart With Scissors and Lives

Here’s a super crazy story. The boy below is Melvin Jones, five years old, who lived at 210 9th St. NE with his family. At the end of October, 1925, he was playing with his brother and sister when a...

article excerpt

Two Bandits Killed on Union Station Train by Marines

What a headline to draw you in. I couldn’t resist, so I read this piece from The Washington Times, printed on November 23rd, 1921 (also the day the Sheppard-Towner Act was signed to provide federal funding for maternity and child care)....

Argument Over Dog Ends in Fatal Shooting

Here’s a sad story that we dug up in The Washington Post from May 26th, 1969. An argument over a dog that bit a young boy ended in the fatal shooting of the son of the dog’s owner last night in...

This is a bulldog. Not Queen.

Wild Dog, Potomac Parkway Terror, Shot and Killed

This is probably not something you would see today. At least, let’s hope not. We came across the headline “Wild Dog of Potomac Slain” in The Washington Post from July 28th, 1913. Below is the article. “Queen,” a bulldog, known for...

Key Bridge

Mother Gives Birth to Child on Key Bridge

You probably don’t believe that headline, but it indeed happened back in 1956. On August 29th, The Washington Post reported that a woman from Fairfax gave birth to a healthy baby while en route to the hospital. Below are excerpts from...

1921 headline

Mass Ave. Frat House: Beer, Swearing, and “Suggestive Songs”

Oh my, “suggestive songs.” Not good, not good … especially in 1921 when this article was printed in The Washington Times. We came across an amusing headline, “Jollity of Frat Boys Results in Suit by Neighbor” and we had to dig...

Heurich Beer in the 1950s

FBI Arrests Chevy Chase Boys in Fake I.D. Scandal

The next time your father or grandfather tells you he never found himself in trouble during his youth, approach that claim with some skepticism, especially if he grew up in Chevy Chase. Check out this fantastic old article that we...