Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween (Contest Winning Entries!)

October 31st, 2005

Today's post is entirely written by our Halloween Contest winners - congratulations to Mike Smith, Gamer Girl, Nathaniel Engelsen, Dante Ojeda, Jake Dominguez, Leaper and Bob Brandon! Enjoy their alternate efforts!

in 605, in accordance to Pope Gregory the First's edict to his missionaries to Christianize pagan rituals, Brother Seanedd spoke to the pagans in Eire, stating Samhain was a ritual that worshiped the Christian God. The druids counciled, nodded wisely, and invited Brother Seanedd to be a part of that years celebration. That marked the first year a Christian was immolated in the Samhain Eve bone fires.

in 1517, Martin Luther, followed by acolytes, tries to impose his 95 theses in Wittenberg, Germany. Moments after he nails these theses at a church gate, he´s struck by lighting in front of the whole town. Pope Leo X called this tragedy an act of punishment from God. “May the Lord forgive his heretical soul and may he finally realize that there´s only one truth”, he said publicly.

in 1864, the Province of Nevada first achieved self-government as a state of the (former) United States. Although the congressional delegation did vote for the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution banning slavery on January 31, 1865, it was the only significant legislation Nevada had any say in before the American Union finally disintegrated after the Union defeat at Nashville in December 1864. With a fully reequipped Confederate army poised on the Ohio River on January 31, President Lincoln was forced to resign, and President Hamlin unilaterally declared a ceasefire on February 1. In the resulting constitutional melee, Lord Palmerston offered the western states and territories a place – and British protection – in the future Canadian dominion, an offer that was gratefully accepted. Despite its small population, Nevada was formally recreated as one of the first seven Canadian provinces on July 1, 1867.

in 1887, inventor Karl Leiber originated the concept of Candy Corn, a small candy laboriously made of sugar, water, corn syrup, fondant, and marshmallow in three colored layers. The candy was intended to be a Halloween special, bringing to mind the changing colors of the fall and the old staple winter foods of the colonists. When he presented his ideas to the Wunderle Candy Company however, he was laughed out of the business.

in 1892, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was published. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a lifelong believer in the supernatural, created the character of Holmes as a vehicle for his occult beliefs. A detective who solved crimes via such methods as scrying, seances, and faerie assistance, Holmes and his trusted Boswell, mentalist John H. Watson, have become enduring characters that fascinate readers even today.

in 1926, Harry Houdini, hospitalized at Detroit's Grace Hospital for peritonitis following an injury received days earlier at Garrick Theater, receives a visit from a mysterious doctor who spends several hours alone with the injured escapist. When nurses and family check in on the injured performer later, they find him fully recovered with no sign of the mysterious doctor. Houdini is unable to recall the man's name or anything about the strange visit. After this time, the famous performer and debunker begins to inexplicably travel through the ancient towns of haunted Massachusetts; focusing special attention on the storied town of Arkham.

in 1926, Harry Houdini is released from the hospital. Houdini was hospitalized after being punched at a school twelve days before and having his appendix burst. This brush with mortality gave Houdini his biggest thrill to date and convinced Harry to push the limits more than ever before. In subsequent shows he had audience members shoot, stab, and poison him to show he could escape even from death.

in 1926, famed magician and escape artist Erich Weiss 'died' of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix received two weeks earlier, when an overenthusiastic fan sought to test his ability to withstand blows by unexpectedly punching him in the abdomen. Weiss was interred in the Machpelah Cemetery, Queens, New York, but his grave was found torn open and empty the morning following his burial. In decades to follow, Weiss was spotted in formerly-empty prison cells at maximum-security penitentiaries, wrapped in anchor chains at major shipyards, and half-buried in concrete at construction sites. However, he has never been found and held successfully.

in 1929, St. Louis city officials announced that they wanted to establish something called trick-or-treat, where children would go door to door dressed in costumes begging for candy as an alternative to the traditional, (and increasingly destructive), pranks that were pulled every prior October 31st. This was the first year that children dressed in costumes assisted in the burning down of City Hall. The St. Louis City Hall was burned down 3 more times in the next 10 years.

in 1936, Bess Houdini is found dead on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel. One of a series of seances conducted on the anniversary of her husband's death, the event is shrouded in mystery. The only access to the roof was locked, and no buildings nearby could have permitted access. No official cause of death is ever released. One eerie piece of the puzzle that quickly spread through the grapevine: the seance table was shattered, the pieces and objects used scattered about the roof as if by some terrific force.

Christmas Day Contest! Following up on our Halloween contest, you can enter our next contest, which will be alternate histories for Christmas Day, December 25th, 2005. The same rules will apply, the top ten entries will be posted on that day, and by entering, you grant TIAH the right to electronically print your writing on October 31st, 2005, maintain your writing in our archives, and reprint your entry should we decide to reuse it in the future. TIAH only maintains full copyright over material it has originated that has been used by contestants in writing their own entries. Enter early and often - entries must be received by December 20th, 2005! Email us up to 3 entries of your best alternate Christmas Days!

We still have our standard offer - everybody who donates $10 or more through our Paypal link will become alternate history entries on the site. When you donate, I will email you asking your preference for a day & timeline; if you don't reply to me, I'll place you in a day that seems to fit your name :) Thanks for your continued support!

Forum Link not working for now - Forum has been hacked! We're working on getting it back, and will let you know once it's back up.
Fresh New Poll - Shall we use future dates in our entries?

Buy my stuff at Lulu!
Warp and Protocols still available; also, see the script I submitted for Bravo's Situation: Comedy. Speaking of which, the winning writers have been announced; not the ones I voted for, but you can see the one I did at

Still wishing...

As your humble alternate historian enters the downhill slope of the 40's, he still has his birthday wish - a contract with a publishing company like Workman Publishing to produce a page-a-day calendar of TIAH. If you are an editor for such a company, or can place us in touch with one, please fulfill this belated birthday wish!

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