Saturday, October 29, 2005


Gravity Kills

After my first week on the road hawking the new book, it was a pleasure to return home last night to find Mark Sanderson in the Telegraph announcing that nearly 100 new entries have been supplemented to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which is hands-down my favorite reference work in the world. And it sounds like the new supplement may have my favorite entry ever:

It's the barely-heard-of who provide the most amusement. Robert Cadman (1711-40), for example, was a rope-walker whose act involved sliding face-first down a rope from the top of St Paul's blowing a trumpet and firing pistols as he went. Alas, a fatal fall in Shrewsbury brought an end to the Shropshire lad and the so-called "flying craze" of the 1730s.

Find-A-Grave includes a picture of the St. Mary's Church tombstone for the, ahem, "would-be aviator":

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