Sunday, March 12, 2017

HGB Ep. 189 - Hampton Court Palace

 Moment in Oddity - Light Bulb That Has Burned Since 1901
(Suggested by: Tim Scott)

Inside of Fire Station 6 in Livermore, California, hangs a Guinness World Record holding light bulb. What does it take for a light bulb to get into the record books? An accomplishment that is not only incredible, but odd. Adolphe Chailet designed the bulb and tested it against other engineers, one of whom was Thomas Edison. The idea behind the test was to subject the various bulbs to increasing voltage. All of the bulbs eventually exploded except for Chailet's bulb, which just got brighter with the increased voltage. But just as Nikola Tesla did not reach the heights of his rival Edison, neither did Chailet. The bulb is a testament to its inventor as it has burned continuously for over a century save for a few days when it has been moved from one location to another and when the electricity has been cut off. It burns dimly today, high above the fire engines, attracting visitors from all over the world. The little bulb even has its own website with a live cam. The Shelby Electric Company made this bulb out of hand blown glass with a carbon filament that appears to be a big squiggle in shape. Theories about why the bulb has lasted vary from just good design to the fact that it is not continuously turned on and off, so it has not had to use as much energy firing back up. Whatever the case may be, a light bulb burning for 116 years, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Nelson's Pillar Blown Up By IRA

In the month of March, in 1966, a monument in Dublin, Ireland known as Nelson's Pillar was blown up by the IRA. Nelson's Pillar was a large granite structure with a statue of Horatio Nelson on top, that was erected in 1809. In 1805, James Vance, who was Lord Mayor of Dublin, suggested the monument be built to honour Admiral Lord Nelson and his victory over the Franco-Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar. A spot was picked on the future O’Connell Street to erect the column. Thomas Kirk of Cork sculpted the statue in Portland stone. The pillar itself was made from Wicklow Granite quarried from Gold Hill Kilbride with an interior made from black limestone. The complete structure rose to 121 feet. On the morning of March 8th, at 1:32am, the top was blown off with a tremendous explosion. Nobody was injured, but Lord Nelson was blown off his perch and much of the pillar was crumbled. After the explosion NCAD students stole Nelson's head as a prank. Over the following six months, the head made several secret appearances, including making its way onto the stage of a Dubliners concert in The Olympia Theatre! Nelson's head is now stored at the Dublin City Library Today, the Millennium Spire or Dublin Spire stands in the same spot that Nelson's Pillar once did.

Hampton Court Palace (Suggested by and researched by listener Amanda Prouty)

Hampton Court Palace located in the London suburb town of Hampton, dates back to medieval times. Throughout the centuries, the palace has been expanded to the point that it has become two palaces in one. The first is a Tudor Palace that was transformed by both Cardinal Wolsey and then King Henry VIII and a baroque castle that was built by William and Mary. The interior decor has changed to suit the occupants, who have ranged from knights to cardinals to kings and queens. What has been left behind, makes Hampton Court a museum of history. Spirits have been left behind as well. Join us and our listener Amanda Prouty as we explore the history and haunting experiences, one of which is hers, of Hampton Court Palace.

The name Hampton is Anglo-Saxon with Hamm meaning an enclosure in the bend of a river and Ton meaning farmstead. In 1236, the Knights Hospitallers of St John Jerusalem acquired the Hampton medieval manor and they used it basically as a huge storage hall for their produce and they had an estate office there. In the 14th century, it was updated to be a guest manor for the wealthy and then the Knights began to rent the property out. Giles Daubeney became Lord Chamberlain to King Henry VII and he leased Hampton Court in 1494. The value of the property increased when he lived there, but the real changes would come when Cardinal Wolsey acquired Hampton in 1514.

(Amanda Prouty shares with us the improvements that Henry VIII made to the palace.)

We talk about the various hauntings including Catherine Howard, Sybil Penn and Skeletor. Amanda believes she may have experienced the spirit of Catherine Howard.

What was it that Amanda experienced? Was it the spirit of Catherine Howard living out her horrible ending in a residual manner? Is there a creepy dead monk named Skeletor running around, throwing open doors? Is Hampton Court Palace haunted? That is for you to decide! 

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