McSorley’s Mysterious Wishbones – Around the Web

What became of the soldiers from the Great War who left behind the mysterious wishbones of McSorley’s Ale House?

According to the story on Atlas Obscura, there remain to this day, hanging over the bar at McSorley’s, wishbones placed there by servicemen as good luck charms prior to their being shipped overseas in 1917. Just one example of the amazing bits of history to be found at 15 East 7th Street in New York’s East Village, where McSorley’s Ale House opened in 1857.

The last American veteran  of the First World War was named Frank Buckles, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 110. He had been a 16 year old motorcycle driver “over there,” and in the 1940s he survived a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines during the Second World War, where he contracted the beriberi that continued to trouble him the rest of his life.

As we have now crossed the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, more attention has been brought to those who took part in what sadly failed to end all wars, as was predicted. They are all gone now, like the veterans of the American Civil War before them.

But what of the wishbone hangers? Some of the men came back to remove a wishbone and celebrate their safe return to McSolrey’s bar. What became of the others, whose wishbones remain there to this day, a silent reminder from the Lost Generation?

Did they not make it back to New York, or to McSorley’s? Or did they not make it back at all?

When next at the bar and ordering your mugs of light or dark, be sure and look for the wishbones and toast those warriors whose fate is now shrouded in history as well as mystery.

For more reading:

Atlas Obscura’s  The Wish Bones of McSorley’s Old Ale House

The Smithsonian Institute’s profile of Frank Buckles

McSorley’s Old Ale House official site

McSorley's Old Ale House

Thanks to River E. for the link!

Around the Web is a new feature where we will provide links to interesting and worthwhile items from around cyberspace.


Secunda etas Mundi – Monday Map

An early world map, known as the Secunda etas Mundi, shows how the mythos and fantastical thinking of the medieval mind dominated still, a year after Columbus.

Secunda etas Mundi

As our Monday Maps series gets back up to speed, I thought it would be nice to visit an old timer.

This is a color rendition of the “Secunda etas Mundi” that appeared in the World Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum) by Hartmann Schedel. Published in 1493, this was the first major book published since the invention of the printing press to get the same kind of ornate illustrations that had previously been reserved for the Bible and related texts.

Clearly based on Ptolemy‘s view of the world that had been lost during the Middle Ages and very much became a centerpiece of classical influence upon the Renaissance thinkers. So this map omits the new world and the southern tip of Africa, which were both reached before the map was made, and it shows terra incognita all along the southern portion of the Indian Ocean.

To the left are the sort of mythical beings expected to be found in the exotic locales represented. And around the map are seen the prevailing winds and the sons of Noah, believed to have populated the world after the great flood.

No wonder it took so long to get anywhere with this kind of GPS to go by!


Mars Has a New Maven – Monday Map

NASA’s Maven has arrived at Mars and has safely settled into orbit

Now begins its mission of investigating the high atmosphere of the red planet, in hopes of shedding new light on the mystery of just how Mars lost its atmosphere.

After 10 months in spaceflight, and a 33 minute burn to slow the orbiter enough to be captured by Mars’ gravity. And while it focuses on its science goals, some 48 hours later the first Mars satellite from India will arrive to further similar studies, including the attempt to observe methane, which could be a sign of active biology on a planet once thought to be dead.

But the question of life on Mars, past or present, may not be answered for many years to come.

Maven orbiter arrives at Mars map
(click to enlarge)

This Mars map is available for purchase from National Geographic

Official NASA Press Release and Updates

BBC Story on Maven’s Arrival