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February 2012 Odd Wisconsin

Accidental Polar Plunge

It's the season for polar plunges, with fund-raising leaps into frozen lakes taken this week in Wausau, Whitewater, and Madison, among other cities. Here's a story about an unintentional plunge into icy Wisconsin waters taken by an unfortunate young lumberjack in 1878. Paddy Disappears John E. Nelligan (1852-1937) was the head of a logging crew in northeastern Wisconsin when a...
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Posted in Odd Lives on February 24, 2012

The Man with the Branded Hand

"With that front of calm endurance, on whose steady nerve in vain, Pressed the iron of the prison, smote the fiery shafts of pain..." - John Greenleaf Whitter in Voices of Freedom (1846, poem inspired by the acts of Captain Johnathan Walker). Soon after Whittier wrote those lines, the man with the branded hand moved to Wisconsin. He was Capt....
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Posted in Odd Lives on February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is Tuesday, so you have time this weekend to pick up something special for your sweetheart. When you're all worn out from wandering the malls in pursuit of the perfect gift, click over to our gallery of historic valentines to see where this custom originated. Years ago, people didn't buy mass-produced cards from multinational corporations in chain stores....
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Posted in Curiosities on February 9, 2012

The Strange Tale of Petersylvania, Wis.

Not 'Pennsylvania' but 'Petersylvania' -- that's the name that Rev. Samuel Peters (1735-1825) gave to his hypothetical 10,000-square-mile empire in northern Wisconsin. Like most dreams, it didn't come true. But it's certainly an odd story. The Wanderings of Jonathan Carver It all began with Jonathan Carver (1710-1780), the first English-speaking traveler to journey through Wisconsin. Carver crossed from Green Bay...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on February 2, 2012

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