Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Quaker Gun Trick Backfires

ALTERNATE HISTORIAN'S NOTE: One of today's entries has something a little different, a link to a longer document which gives more space to the entry. Please let us know if you like that by leaving a comment or emailing us.

December 4th, 2005

in 47,538 BCE, a young boy of the tribe of Tikal asked his chieftain to explain where the rains came from. It was a lazy night, and the tribe was gathered about Tikal, listening. For a moment, Tikal thought about lying to the boy and telling him that powerful people in the sky cried huge tears that fell on them, but instead just said that he didn’t know, and told the boy that he should find out. The science that grew out of this moment has defined the human race; there is no way to speculate what may have happened to us if we had started believing in super-powerful cloud-beings.

in 1780, Colonel William Washington attempts to use a Quaker gun trick, fashioning a fake cannon from a pine log, to fool South Carolinian Loyalist Colonel Rowland Rugely and his men out of a barn in Camden, South Carolina. Rugely had been on the verge of surrender when one of his men got a good look at the “cannon”, and the enraged Loyalist ordered his men to take no prisoners. This victory for the British cause brought Rugely to the attention of brutal British Colonel Banastre Tarleton, who used Rugely to great effect in many later battles.

in 1861, Human League terrorists Lyle Fitz-Warren and Brent Carpenter were spotted arguing at a café in Amsterdam.

in 1872, the Mary Celeste, an American ship under the command of Captain Benjamin Briggs, limps into the Azores after taking on a considerable amount of water. They had been through a storm, pirates and a minor mutiny, and Captain Briggs was happy to see land; there had been points of this voyage when he had despaired of ever seeing it again.

in 1918, the presence of American President Woodrow Wilson at the peace talks in Versailles allowed the Americans to push through a treaty that called for what was considered in western Europe as insignificant reparations from the Central Powers. The Germans were particularly grateful to the U.S. for this, and became close allies in later years.

in 1921, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was found guilty of rape and manslaughter in the death of young actress Virginia Rappe. Known for his wild parties, Arbuckle had gone too far in a gin-fueled orgy earlier in the year and the young lady died of a ruptured bladder a few days later. Although Arbuckle had used all his considerable charm on the jury, they believed the prosecution and he was sentenced to life in prison.

in 1397, Bokassa of the heathen Empire of Central Africa crowned himself Emperor. The lavish ceremony in the impoverished nation enraged the populace and led to a revolt against Bokassa, which the Islamic nations surrounding the Empire were all too happy to assist with. Bokassa was overthrown a mere 8 months after declaring himself emperor.

in 1984, embracing President Carter's alternative energy initiatives, General Motors announces that all of its engines from now on will be the bio-diesel variety. With only slight modifications, the diesel engine they have made for decades can run on vegetable oil, producing significantly less pollution. GM's move puts the nail in the coffin for OPEC's control of the world's energy sources.

in 2002, Professor Thomas and Captain Laughlin, under the control of some sort of alien creature, begin taking over the ship that Dr. Courtney and his Air Force crew are attempting to repair. Over the course of the day, the possessed pair attack and kill two crewmen and sabotage many vital areas of the ship. Dr. Courtney is able to repair the communications, and sends out a distress signal.

in 2003, the College of Cardinals gathers at Buckingham Cathedral in a secret meeting to discuss the ouster of Pope Righteous I. Such a rebellion has not been attempted in hundreds of years, but the cardinals are deathly afraid of the black pope, as the Estellians have started calling him. Unfortunately for them, they are discovered; most flee, but over a dozen are executed as heretics by Pope Righteous the next day.

Christmas Day Contest! ONLY 16 DAYS LEFT!! 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

Help the Alternate Historian get a better day job!
My email address for contacting me with your good news, or for more direct goodness, go to the web site and leave a comment, buy a book, or leave a Paypal donation! Remember, it's only 6 degrees of separation between you and anyone else - and thanks again!

No comments:

TIAH Editor says we'd like to move you off the blog, if you're browsing the archives - and most people are - more than half of them are already on the new site. We need to be sure the new web site accomodates your archive browsing needs because we don't want to lose any readers. Please supply any feedback or comments by email to the Editor and please note the blogger site is shutting on December 1st.