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Major Allan Wilson

On 4 December 1893, the Shangani Patrol, comprising 34 soldiers of the British South Africa Company, was annihilated by over 3,000 Matabele warriors during the First Matabele War, in Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Major Patrick Forbes was attempting to capture the Matabele King Lobengula. A patrol, headed by Major Allan Wilson (pictured), was scouting ahead on the north side of the Shangani River. When Wilson's patrol moved in to capture Lobengula, it was ambushed by Matabele riflemen and warriors near the king's wagon. Surrounded and outnumbered about a hundred-fold, the patrol made a last stand as three of its number rode back to the river for reinforcements – without success as the Shangani was now in flood and Forbes was also involved in a skirmish. After fighting to the last cartridge, and killing over ten times their own number, Wilson and his men were annihilated. The patrol's members were regarded as national heroes for endeavour in the face of insurmountable odds. The anniversary of the battle became an annual public holiday in Rhodesia in 1895, and was an official non-work day until 1920. A film depicting the episode, Shangani Patrol, was released in 1970. (Full article...)

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East Indian Rope Trick

An advertisement for a 1927 enactment of the Indian rope trick by stage magician Howard Thurston. This form of stage magic is said to have been performed in and around India during the 19th century, though the factuality of this has been disputed.

Poster: The Otis Lithograph Co.; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

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