October 21, 1966
At 9:15am part of one of these tips collapsed, causing a landslide heading right towards Aberfan. The workers on the mountain saw the tip take off and ran to alert the town, but vandals had stolen the phone cable and no warning could be given.
As the 150,000 cubic metres raced down the mountain, the children of Pantglas Junior School had just finished singing 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' in the assembly hall and returned to their class rooms. It was the last day before holidays and they were no doubt looking forward to the break from lessons.
A 12 meter deep wave of water, mud and rubble smashed into the village destroying a farm, homes and the school. Many of the classrooms were utterly destroyed, and those whose structures remained largely intact filled with mud and water.
With all of the bodies removed it came time for parents to identify their children. One by one they entered the chapel, some having to stare at nearly every body before they came to that of their son or daughter.
On 27th October, 1966, there was a joint funeral for most of the victims, attended by over 2000 people.
Although the cause of the collapse could have been avoided, that the National Coal Board had been given warnings, warnings they ignored, not a single person on the board lost their job, was fined or demoted. Parents were only awarded a small amount of compensation per child lost in the disaster. The Colliery remained operational until 1989.
October 24, 1901
Spend your 63rd birthday riding over the Niagara Falls in a barrel of course!
(And hope to make a few bucks doing so!)
This was the plan of Annie Edson Taylor, self proffered American Adventurer, widow and ex school teacher.
A custom barrel was made and was lined with simple bed mattresses. Although Taylor sounds a bit mad she did have presence of mind to test the barrel out first – she put a cat inside and sent it over the falls. The cat survived, though it was a little shaken up, bruised and had a cut on its head, but this was more than considered a successful test – for it had survived.
When it came to Taylor's attempt it was put off several times. She needed someone to help get her out to the falls, load her in and release her a little upstream. However no one really wanted to be a hand in what many thought to be a 'suicide attempt'.
On October 24th Annie Edson Taylor was finally good to go, it was her 63rd birthday, though she claimed it was her 40th. She was loaded into her barrel, the lid fastened and a tire pump was used to compress the air within... then she was set adrift. The barrel raced towards the Horseshoe Falls (one of the falls that make up the Niagara Falls) and it and Taylor went over. About twenty minutes later the barrel was collected and opened – Taylor had lived albeit shaken up, bruised and with a cut on the head – exactly the same as the cat.
Unfortunately Taylor was not able to make the money she was hoping to from the stunt. Although she was able to save up quite a bit, her manager took off with the barrel, so she used her money to hire private detectives to get it back.
Her final years were spent working at her souvenir stand near the falls, taking and signing photos for fans before she set up shop as a clairvoyant. She died on April 29, 1921 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Niagara Falls.
Since Taylor's stunt another 15 people have made the attempt, 5 of them perished, including Robert Overcracker who tried on a jetski...
October 26, 1984
On January 12, 1986, the parents of John McCollum filed a lawsuit against Ozzy Osbourne, that the alleged hidden lyrics "Why try? Get the gun and shoot, shoot, shoot." prompted their son to carry out the act. It has been alleged that this song does carry hidden lyrics, but they are interpreted in many different ways, and even if they do say what the McCollums believed, the court dismissed the charges.
Former band manager and Osbourne's father in law (father of Sharon Osbourne) put forward: "To be perfectly honest, I would be doubtful as to whether Mr. Osbourne knew the meaning of the lyrics, if there was any meaning, because his command of the English language is minimal."