Friday, October 30, 2015

Spooky Ann Arbor Map

Astute readers of this blog will recognize that this post is largely recycled from one in April of this year. Still, 'tis the season to be spooky.

I stumbled across this Weird Ann Arbor map a while back. There's tons of great, spooky stuff on the map. Did you know that both James A. Garfield and his assassin Charles Guiteau stayed at the same rooming house in Ann Arbor? Did you know that Ann Arbor was home to the first municipal parking structure? This is probably my favorite entrance though:


Claiming the powers of Mesmerism, in which "animal magnetism" can be used to "to control epileptics, cure migranes, and treat femine hysteria," a Mr. L. De Bonderville of Paris is the subject of a series of heated debates between the Michigan Argus and the Michigan State Journal over the months of April and May, 1843.

De Bonderville is beset by the Argus, who claims that any consideration of such claims is both foolish and sacreligious; State Journal argues that animal magnetism and mesmerism has been proven by the Academe of Paris, and that as "scientific" men, the people of Ann Arbor must be open to the use of magnetism.

De Bonderville first refuses to give a public demonstration, having until this point contented himself with entertaining at society homes, then recants and schedules one semi-public performance in front of eight leading Ann Arbor citizens, listed in the State Journal by initial only, but understood to include the Mayor, two judges, and a prominent local educator, in which he uses his mesmerism on the daughter of one of the judges. All men are impressed as the girl enters a trance, and De Bonderville instructs her to raise and lower her body temperature, which she does. Then unspecified other tests are conducted, which the State Journal contends were the very measure of modern science. De Bonderville then gives a larger public performance, drawing a crowd around 100. The performance is, the State Journal reports, well-received, though the Argus contends that there was widespread dissatisfaction with the small results produced by De Bonderville. The Argus supplementally holds that the only people who would be impressed are "Reubens and Yokels," and that such a demonstration happened at all is testament to the gullible and unsophisticated nature of Washtenaw County residents.

The Ann Arbor Argus--the newspaper from the 19th century, not the radical paper of the 20th century--makes a lot of appearance in the stories mentioned in the map.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Special Back to the Future Nerd Nite tonight

Today is Back to the Future Day (the day to which Marty McFly travels in Back to the Future II). In celebration, Nerd Nite Ann Arbor in conjunction with the AADL are hosting a special futuristic Back to the Future lecture:

This month’s event takes us Back to the Future, because when BTTF 2 came out in 1989, October 21, 2015 seemed pretty darn future. Since we’re living in the future, we’ll talk about what the future looks like, or more accurately, what designers thought it would look like. We’ll find out the science behind instructing our (eventual) personalized robot servants to make our martinis just right. And finally, we’ll get hardcore about the Back to the Future trilogy, checking out how accurate their vision of the future really was. So power up your flux capacitors and get here for a flashback to the future!

When: Wednesday, October 21, 2015, doors at 6:30pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: NO COVER! Hey, thanks, Ann Arbor District Library!!