1776 – The Illuminati are founded in Ingolstadt, Bavaria

They are an ageless conspiracy that has existed since the dawn of time, secretly guiding the affairs of nations and peoples… but they’re also, apparently, a relatively small group of Freemasons living in or around a fairly unremarkable Bavarian town in the 1770’s, led by one Adam Weishaupt (who may or may not also have been, or have replaced, George Washington at some point).

The Bavarian Illuminati, as this group is referred to by historians for simplicity’s sake, quickly grew to a membership of over 2000 men (no women were members) by the time it was suppressed a decade later. Known members other than Weishaupt include Goethe, Ferdinand of Brunswick, Johann Gottfried Herder and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, with numerous others speculated to be members, including most of the ruling and creative classes of southern Germany, Austria and nearby areas at the time.

Referenced in:
Illuminati — Korn

1994 – Ayrton Senna crashes and dies during the San Marino Grand Prix

One of the best Grand Prix drivers in history, Senna’s death came while in the lead of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. The cause of his fatal accident had never been conclusively determined, but the result of it was never in doubt. Senna was traveling at 135 miles per hour when his car hit the wall at Tamburello corner, and his car folded up. Senna sustained a number of injuries, including three separate blows to the head – any one of which would likely have been fatal by itself.

Ironically, Senna had spent much of that morning meeting with his fellow drivers to form a committee to help ensure Grand Prix driver’s safety after the death of Austrian driver Roland Ratzenburger the previous day on the same track. As one of the most senior and respected drivers, Senna offered to head the committee. Later, when his car was examined, it was discovered that Senna had placed a furled Austrian flag in the vehicle, presumably intending to fly it in memory of Ratzenburger during his victory lap.

In the wake of Senna’s death, the committee for driver safety was indeed formed, and today the Grand Prix Driver’s Association stands alongside his many sporting acheivements as Senna’s legacy.

Referenced in:

Saudade Part 1 & 2 (Tribute To Ayrton Senna) — Chris Rea

1868 — Tom Dula is hanged for murder

Tom Dula was a former Confederate soldier who was executed for the murder of one Laura Foster. However, there are a number of irregularities in the prosecution’s case, notably that although Laura was murdered in Wilkes County, North Carolina, Dula was tried, convicted, and hung in Statesville.

The evidence against Dula was almost entirely circumstantial: while he had threatened to kill whoever had infected him with the pox, it is not clear that he blamed Foster for this; and while he was found hiding out under an assumed name by the lynch mob, he clearly had reason to fear such a mob. Many of the details of the life of Tom Dula, nowadays better remembered as Tom Dooley from the folk songs about him, remain obscure – in no small part due to the inaccuracies of the folk songs.

Referenced in:
Tom Dooley — Neil Young