Christopher M. Cevasco, Author

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And did those feet in ancient time…

Megalosaurus has the distinction of being the first dinosaur ever mentioned in popular media. It appeared in the opening lines of Charles Dickens’s 1852 novel Bleak House (the photo of Dickens at left dates from the year the novel was published). Megalosaurus bones were first discovered in 1677 in England, and in 1824 it also […]

The Doomed Triumph of the H.L. Hunley

The H.L. Hunley was one of the great engineering wonders of the U.S. Civil War and the first submarine ever to to sink an enemy ship. Such a feat was not repeated for another fifty years, when a German U-boat sank the HMS Pathfinder with the first successfully deployed self-propelled torpedo at the start of […]

Lady Godiva – the Naked Truth

Mention Lady Godiva, and the first thing most people think of is the line of chocolates bearing her name. Others may dimly recall something about her riding naked on the back of a horse. But who was Godiva, and why do we remember her at all? In truth, very little is verifiably known about her. […]

Anglo-Saxon Astronomy, Over Easy

Through the successful defense of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from would-be Viking conquerors, King Alfred the Great of Wessex (pictured at left in a 13th-century illuminated genealogy) had become the strongest of the Anglo-Saxon sub-kings by the time of his death in AD 899. His efforts paved the way for a united England to be ruled […]

Halley’s Comet – Part 5 (19th – 21st Centuries)

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the storied history of Halley’s Comet (officially designated 1P/Halley). If you missed the earlier posts, you can still read Part One here, Part Two here, Part Three here, and Part Four here. When 1P/Halley made its 1835 appearance, streams of vapor were seen emerging from it. This led […]

Friggatriskaidekaphobia

If you suffer from this malady–the fear of Friday the 13th–you might want to read on, as you’re probably only succumbing to a recently minted superstition rather than one grounded in age-old mystic wisdom or scientific data… As for the etymology of friggatriskaidekaphobia, Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess who is the wife […]

Happy Jól!

At 5:30 am on December 22, this year’s winter solstice will occur for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere (summer solstice for those in the Southern Hemisphere). The date is commonly known as midwinter, but astronomically speaking, the winter solstice marks the point at which the polar hemisphere’s axial tilt is farthest from […]

You Got Your Duck In My Turkey…

… No, you got your chicken in my duck! [chewing pause] Hey, tastes great! Perhaps like the two great tastes that taste great together in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, some sort of unwary barnyard collision resulted in the first turducken. Or perhaps not. Either way, with the Thanksgiving season having descended upon the United […]

Halley’s Comet – Part 4 (16th – 18th Centuries)

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the storied history of Halley’s Comet (officially designated 1P/Halley). If you missed the earlier posts, you can still read Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here. 1P/Halley made its first post-medieval appearance in 1531, which also marked the start of a more […]

Landøyðan – A Bird in the Hand…

Of the various methods Vikings employed to plant fear in the guts of their enemies, perhaps none would have been as visually striking as the raven banner–a sort of warcloth flown by many famous Norsemen, particularly during the 9th through 11th centuries. From surviving accounts and a few visual depictions such as the one at […]