What Would You Put in a Package to Be Opened in 100 Years?

In case you missed the media coverage on August 24th, this is not a photo of the 100 year-old package opened in Norway. I watched the live video as one of the museum curators carried the actual package to a building while men in Scottish kilts played the bagpipes.

What were the bagpipe players doing in a village in Norway? They were participating in a joint cultural celebration and reenactment of a battle, which the Norwegians won against Scottish mercenaries in 1612. After musical and dance performances, the package was finally opened. What was inside? Click on the links below to find out.

So why am I writing about this event if I’m not going to divulge the contents of the package? I wondered what I would put in a package to be opened in 100 years. My manuscript, family photos and artwork, old letters, and my website url? Probably. Not the bills that came in the mail or the ones in my wallet. I wouldn’t include the newspaper I didn’t have time to read or the dust bunnies loitering in the corner either.

What would you put in a package to be opened in 100 years?


Norwegian TV video with short ad
Same video from youtube with no ad
Huffington Post article and video with a longer ad

The Great English Earthquake of 1884 and Other Disasters to Avoid

Who would want to be dangling from the pinnacles of the Victorian tower at the House of Lords with or without an earthquake? Not me. However, that’s exactly where six workmen were on the morning of April 22, 1884 during the Great English Earthquake aka Colchester or Essex Earthquake.

When the tower began to sway, the men thought the vibrations were caused by the wind and scrambled to the roof near the flagstaff. Fortunately they all survived to report the incident. Marguerite, the heroine of my manuscript, would not have been one of the public house customers who ran off without paying for their ale, but she would have protected as many people as she could.

Victorian tower at the House of Lords
(far right)

The quake lasted about twenty seconds and was felt across England, Northern France, and Belgium. The British Geological Survey used records from 1884 and estimated the quake would have registered at a magnitude of 4.6. In 1961 East Anglia television interviewed Mrs. Jane Wadley, an eyewitness to the epicenter near Essex in 1884. She described her reactions as a thirteen year-old teacher as well as those of the students and her father, who was stranded without a ladder. What did the villagers think was happening? Fears ranged from an attack by Irish extremists to tidal waves to Judgment Day. Click here to view the video.

Did you know that other disasters like the eruptions of the Tambora and Krakatowa volcanoes changed the gases in the atmosphere over Europe, the color of London sunsets, and the appearance of the daytime sun for seafarers during the 18th and 19th centuries? Scientists uncovered evidence, which indicates that deaths attributed to the plague in 1258 AD were actually caused by conditions created by a volcanic eruption. Some effects lasted for years and resulted in thousands of deaths.

If you’re curious about the details, click on the links below. If you’re a writer, I suggest you avoid disasters by researching them carefully. You never know how they can affect your story or lead to new story ideas. Or characters. BTW I have dibs on Mrs. Jane Wadley.


The UK Historical Earthquake Database has data from 1048 AD to 2001.

The 1258 AD earthquake

The Mount Tambora Eruption 1815

The Krakatoa Eruption 1883

Smile! Free Photos for Your Blog

1. Author Kristen Lamb has started a free photo sharing group (for authors) on flickr.

Details about joining the group:


Direct link to photos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wana/

2. Links to free photo sources:


The Writer Fairy

The OTHER Badminton Scandal

My father taught me how to play badminton when we lived in England, although I must admit the eight year-old me thought the game was called “badmitten.” I also didn’t know the name originated from Badminton House where the game was introduced at lawn parties during the 19th century.


I haven’t kept up with all the details of the recent Olympic badminton scandal. However there’s a reference to badminton in my Victorian era manuscript, Much Ado About Scandal, which made me curious about previous badminton scandals.

The Badminton Scandal of August 1895 didn’t involve the game of badminton, but the case originated with Mrs. Jacoby, who lived near Badminton. Newspapers from Australia to the United States reported the events of the three day trial. Some of the notoriety was caused by the large number of legal counsel including Sir Edmund Clarke, the lead counsel for Mrs. Jacoby. Sir Clarke had previously represented Oscar Wilde in his libel case and cross-examined the Prince of Wales in the Baccarat Case.

Mrs. Jacoby accused the Dowager Countess Cowley of slander and sued her for damages. According to Mrs. Jacoby, the dowager was jealous and wrote and shared horrible anonymous letters about her. As a result, Mrs. Jacoby and her husband were “cut” by other members of county society. Many witnesses from various social classes swore that the dowager said that Mrs. Jacoby had written the letters.

Further testimony from Mrs. Jacoby resulted in warnings from the judge and the opposing counsel. Mr. Jacoby testified about a handwriting expert who examined the letters and advertisements for a reward to anyone who helped identify the letter writer. Mrs. Jacoby’s doctor testified about her medical condition, which Mrs. Jacoby blamed on the stress of the social “cut” and slander.

What was written in the letters? We’ll probably never know. Mrs. Jacoby said a Lord Worcester destroyed them, because he recognized the dowager’s handwriting. The opposing counsel did not present any testimony. At that point Sir Clarke attempted to submit a letter as evidence. The judge refused, but he offered to read the letter before rendering his decision the next morning. The decision never came, because the case was settled privately. For detailed excerpts of the testimony, click here.