1985 – Charles Ng arrested

Charles Ng was an American serial killer who often killed working with another man, Leonard Lake. It is unclear how many people they abducted and killed – often also including rape and torture – but it is generally assumed to be 11 to 25 people. They were eventually caught when Ng was arrested for shoplifting, and Lake for driving a car with plates registered to a different car.

In custody, Lake revealed the truth about himself and Ng, then swallowed cyanide. He died four days later, and a police search of his ranch in Calaveras County, California, found a custom-built dungeon, the remains of at least a dozen people, and extensive journals and video records incriminating himself and Ng. Ng remains on death row at the time of this writing.

Referenced in:
The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles — Exodus

1985 – Leonard Lake arrested

Leonard Lake was an American serial killer who often killed working with another man, Charles Ng. It is unclear how many people they abducted and killed – often also including rape and torture – but it is generally assumed to be 11 to 25 people. They were eventually caught when Ng was arrested for shoplifting, and Lake for driving a car with plates registered to a different car.

In custody, Lake revealed the truth about himself and Ng, then swallowed cyanide. He died four days later, and a police search of his ranch in Calaveras County, California, found a custom-built dungeon, the remains of at least a dozen people, and extensive journals and video records incriminating himself and Ng. Ng remains on death row at the time of this writing.

Referenced in:
The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles — Exodus

1897 BCE — Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by God’s wrath

The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah shows God’s mercy at its finest. After he threatens to destroy the cities, Lot, who resides in one of them, bargains with his god, finally convincing him to spare the cities if Lot can find five righteous men in them (apparently, righteous women aren’t good enough).

The bar is not set high: Lot himself is considered righteous, although he clearly suffers from the sin of pride (it takes a pretty big ego to bargain with god as an equal). However, he does have one virtue that god appreciates, that of shameless toadying. Indeed, Lot is so desperate to curry favour with god and his servants that he offers his virgin daughters to the baying mob to do with as they please if they will simply consent to leave god’s servants alone.

For this, god spares Lot and his daughters, allowing them to flee the city before he smites down upon it with great vengeance and furious anger – although Lot’s wife, whose only crime is to like watching explosions, is turned into a pillar of salt as a punishment – which is pretty harsh considering how few fans of action movies have ever been similarly afflicted.

1937 — The Rape of Nanking begins

In our world’s long and sorry history of warfare and strife, the Rape of Nanking, or Nanking Massacre, is one of the greatest atrocities to have ever been committed – and the continued denial by serial Japanese governments that the Rape even occurred one of the greatest hypocrisies.

The city of Nanking, which had been left very lightly defended by Chiang Kai-shek after the fall of Shanghai, fell to the Japanese advance on December 13, and almost at once, a military advance transformed into looting and arson, and shortly thereafter, into killing and raping, at first incidental, but increasingly systematised over the six weeks following the 13th.

No accurate tally of victims has ever been made, but estimates place the number of rapes between 20,000 and 80,000, many of them old women and children, and the number of murders anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000, the majority of them civilians or prisoners of war. Bodies were burned and buried in mass graves to help prevent identification, and it is believed that documents pertaining to the massacre were among those destroyed by the Japanese High Command immediately before and after their surrender in 1945.

Referenced in:
Nanking — Exodus

146 BCE — Carthage is destroyed by Rome

In the final engagement of the Punic Wars, the Roman forces brought to war to the very doorstep of Carthage. From 149 BCE until the spring of 146 BCE, they laid siege to the city itself, which is located near the site of modern Tunis. The Romans could probably have won sooner, but incompetent commanders hamstrung their efforts. By the time they finally breached the walls and poured into the city, the Carthaginians had turned every building into a fortress, and armed every citizen.

However, the battle was never seriously in doubt. Although both sides suffered terrible losses, a Roman victory was inevitable once the city itself was invaded. The fall of Carthage represented the demise of the last organised opposition to Roman expansion in the Mediterranean, as the Carthaginians were their major rivals in the early days of Roman civilisation.

Although it is commonly taught that the Romans plowed Carthage under and sowed salt in the new fields, this claim does not appear in any contemporary sources, and appears to be an invention of nineteenth century historians.

Referenced in:

Nanking — Exodus
Vietnam — Paul Kaplan

1966 – Charles Whitman kills 14 people in a shooting spree before his own death

Charles Whitman was a few weeks past his 25th birthday when he finally snapped. Taking his rifle, he killed 16 people, 3 of them in the tower tower of the University of Texas and 11 more as a sniper in the tower’s observation deck, where he retreated in his final rage. He also wounded 32 other people before he was shot dead by members of the Austin police department.

In the months leading up to his death, Whitman had been court-martialled by the Marines (by whom he had been trained as a sniper), endured his parents’ divorce, and developed both an amphetamine addiction and a headache-inducing brain tumour (the last discovered only at his autopsy)… looking for a motive in his actions is pointless, so many things in his life serving to unabalance him.

His was one of the earliest sniper killing sprees, but sadly, it would not be the last.

Referenced in:
Sniper – Harry Chapin
Sniper in the Sky – Macabre
The Tower – Insane Clown Posse
Chest Explodes – Bottom Feeder
Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer) — Exodus
The Ballad of Charles Whitman – Kinky Friedman
Road To Ruin (Charles Whitman) – Church of Misery

64 — Nero fiddles while Rome burns

It’s an iconic image, symbolising madness, decadence and a corrupt lust for power. But did it actually happen?

In all probability, it didn’t. For a start, the fiddle would not be invented for another thousand years – Nero played the lyre. And according to Tacitus, Nero not only wasn’t in Rome when the fire occurred, but raced back to organise the relief efforts and funded a large portion of the reconstruction of the city from his own purse. Hardly a picture of a depraved monster, is it?

The fire is believed to have started near the Circus Maximus. It burned for seven days and five nights – on the fifth day, it was nearly quelled before flaring up with renewed strength. Of the city’s 14 districts, seven were damaged and three destroyed outright.

Referenced in:

Downfall — Exodus
Procession Commence — This Is Hell
Ain’t That Just Like A Woman — Louis Jordan