These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake

Khalid Elhassan - March 12, 2024

Panic has been all too common throughout history. Whether over change, new developments, or other cause for irrational fear, panic has always lurked beneath the surface when it comes to humanity. Take coffee. An ubiquitous drink nowadays, it was once attacked as the devil’s brew in both the Islamic Middle East and Christian Europe. Below are twenty five things about that and other historic instances of moral panic and irrational fear.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
A goat herder’s hyperactive goats after they ate coffee berries led to the discovery of its properties. Pinterest

Moral Panic Over Coffee

The discovery of coffee, purportedly initiated by Ethiopian goats’ consumption of its berries, led to its spread from Ethiopia to Yemen in the 1400s. Initially embraced by Yemeni Sufis for its stimulating effects during religious practices, coffee soon reached Mecca, where it faced its first moral panic and subsequent ban due to fears of radical thinking. However, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent later overturned this ban. Despite such endorsements, coffee sparked controversies elsewhere, including a ban in Cairo in 1532 and denouncements by European clergy as satanic.

Pope Clement VIII, however, endorsed coffee, leading to its wider acceptance in Europe. Yet, in the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Murad IV reinstated a ban, imposing severe penalties on offenders. Even in Scandinavia, coffee faced scrutiny, with Sweden conducting tests on convicted criminals to assess its lethality, proving it harmless. Notably, Frederick the Great of Prussia expressed disdain for coffee, advocating for beer consumption instead. Throughout history, coffee’s journey has been marked by both fervent praise and vehement opposition, highlighting its enduring cultural significance.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
The Puritans banned Christmas. New England Today

When Christmas Was Cause for Moral Panic

In centuries past, Christmas wasn’t just a time of joy and celebration but also a source of widespread fear and loathing due to the rampant disorder and crime it brought. In the 1600s, the Massachusetts Bay Colony even outlawed Christmas festivities due to the drunken riots and chaos they engendered. Particularly in the 19th century, cities like New York and Philadelphia saw Christmas as a time for dangerous mob actions, with working-class youth engaging in drunken revelry and criminal behavior. Known as callithumpians, these groups roamed the streets, banging on pots and demanding free drinks while causing mayhem. Their antics, including vandalism and violence, sparked moral panic among respectable citizens, leading to calls for stricter law enforcement.

Newspapers condemned the “black sheep” responsible for making the streets “hideous” with their callithumpian doings. In 1844, a New York Ledger editorial lamented the city’s “riotous spirit” and the frequent disorders that threatened civil governance. This pressure eventually led to the establishment of modern police forces capable of effectively controlling crowds. To curb the crime, authorities implemented measures to keep Christmas celebrants out of business districts and wealthy residential areas, confining the chaos to working-class neighborhoods. Over time, there was a cultural shift that redirected the wild partying from Christmas to the secular celebrations of New Year’s. This transition marked the end of Christmas as a time of widespread disorder and signaled a new era of controlled festivities.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
Colonial Boston in the 1700s. American Battlefield Trust

An Explosive Reaction To Vaccinations (Literally)

Variolation, the early form of immunization against smallpox, involved intentionally infecting individuals with material from smallpox patients to induce a milder form of the disease and subsequent immunity. Despite its success in controlling smallpox, variolation faced significant opposition and sparked moral panic. In 1721, a smallpox outbreak in Boston prompted prominent figures like Cotton Mather and Zabdiel Boylston to conduct public inoculation campaigns. However, this birthed America’s first anti-vaccination movement, fueled by religious objections and fears of the procedure’s safety.

Boylston’s successful inoculations, which had a lower death rate than natural smallpox infections, did little to quell the opposition. Boston’s City Council condemned the practice, and Boylston faced assaults and threats. Religious leaders deemed inoculation sinful, and angry mobs forced inoculated individuals into quarantine. Benjamin Franklin, then a teenager, even contributed to the opposition through satirical articles in the New England Courant. Despite the resistance, variolation paved the way for later advancements in vaccination and disease prevention.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
Awareness that people were doing this sent moralists into paroxysms of indignation. Toronto Star

A Moral Panic Over Canoes

Before car ownership spread and backseats became popular for make out sessions, America’s youth often coupled in canoes. Early twentieth century American youth had limited options for romantic spots. So they took to the water. Canoes had recently become widely available. They offered youngsters an escape from finger-wagging parents and baleful chaperones, and a bit of privacy for a bit of romance. Canoe sales and permits exploded, and teenagers took to the water with the urgency of salmon fighting their way upstream to spawn. In Minneapolis, for example, 200 canoe permits were issued in 1910. Two years later, that figure skyrocketed to more than 2000.

The term “canoedling” was coined for watery romance. Unsurprisingly, the buzzkill pious and prudes, appalled that some people might be having fun somewhere, went into a moral panic. The Minneapolis Tribune warned the public that: “Girl Canoeists’ Tight Skirts Menace Society“. Other coverage decried the “misconduct in canoes” that threatened to “bring shame upon the city“. A midnight curfew was declared, and park police patrolled the waterways in motorized boats equipped with spotlights to catch canoedling canoeists. The canoe romance trend finally died out in the 1920s, when cars and car backseats became more widely available.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
A New York City crowd in 1912, mostly clad in straw hats. Library of Congress

A Moral Panic Over Headwear Fashion

In the 19th century, straw hats became a fashionable accessory for American men, particularly during the summer months. However, an unwritten rule emerged dictating that straw hats should only be worn until September 15th, known as “Felt Hat Day.” After this date, it was considered taboo to wear a straw hat, and those who did risked having their hats snatched off and destroyed by strangers. Initially, this tradition was seen as harmless fun, but it soon escalated into widespread crime and violence.

The end of straw hat season often sparked riots, with mobs targeting individuals wearing straw hats past the cutoff date. Some straw hat wearers resisted, leading to violent confrontations and even instances of individuals pulling guns to protect their headgear. One notable incident occurred in Pittsburgh in 1910, where Felt Hat Day demonstrations turned violent, resulting in injuries and near-bloodshed. Although initially dismissed as “youthful exuberance” by some newspapers, the growing scale of the riots prompted public and media scrutiny, leading to calls for an end to the destructive tradition. The trend did finally end with the Great Depression.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
John Jay. National Portrait Gallery

Moral Panic Caused by Medical Dissection

John Jay (1745 – 1829) was a patriot, diplomat, and jurist who served the nascent United States in various roles. A New Yorker, he was elected to both the First and Second Continental Congresses, and served as president of the latter. As ambassador to Spain from 1779 to 1782, he persuaded it to help the American colonists in their war against Britain. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris that secured US independence, and later served as America’s first Secretary of State. Jay was also appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1789. When it came to case law, his years on the bench were mostly uneventful: in six years, his court decided only four cases.

The tranquility of Jay’s service on the bench contrasted sharply with the tumult he experienced a year earlier in 1788. A doctor nowadays is a respected professional, but it was not always so. Indeed, one of America’s biggest riots after the country gained its independence was against doctors. The so-called “Doctors Riot” was sparked by popular abhorrence of a ghoulish, but common medical practice at the time. Back then, doctors routinely robbed graves of corpses for dissection. The riot erupted in New York City on April 16th, 1788, and killed over twenty people. As seen below, the future US Supreme Court chief justice almost got killed in the tumult.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
Rioters interrupting a dissection. Wikimedia

A Supreme Court Chief Justice in a Riot

Eighteenth century medical research and education relied heavily upon corpse dissection. However, few would donate their loved ones’ corpses. So doctors stole them from fresh graves, or paid grave robbers to do so. It was as justifiable a cause for moral panic as any. In the 1780s, New York’s Columbia University doctors got their corpses from the African Burial Ground, where slaves and freedmen were buried. The doctors simply headed there at night, dug up the freshest graves, and stole the corpses. Relatives of the deceased petitioned the authorities to do something, but nobody listened. Then one day in April, 1788, some boys peeped through the window of New York Hospital, as a doctor dissected a corpse. To amuse the kids, he waved her severed arm at them. Unfortunately, the woman being dissected was the recently-deceased mother of one of the boys.

The kid ran home and told his father, who gathered a mob to attack the hospital. When they broke in, they encountered a scene of horrors. Numerous corpses were strewn all over the place, one of them boiling in a pot to ease dissection. As the doctor on duty hid in a chimney, the mob gathered the cadavers and burned them outside. Over the next few days, thousands of New Yorkers attacked doctors’ homes, and even the city’s jail, where the authorities had moved the doctors for their own protection. The mob bayed for blood, and shouted “Bring out the doctors!” The militia gathered to resist them. In the resultant fighting, about twenty were killed. John Jay, who served in the militia, was struck with a rock that cracked his skull. Afterwards, laws were finally passed to prohibit and punish grave robbing.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
A contemporary cartoon depicting a European anarchist attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty. Memphis Commercial Appeal

A Red Scare Moral Panic

Many are aware of America’s 1950s Red Scare, when demagogues like Senator Joseph McCarthy whipped fears of communism into a widespread panic. Many careers and lives were ruined in modern witch hunts, as those suspected of communism – or those simply accused of being communists – were persecuted, boycotted, and blacklisted. However, that 1950s panic was not the only time that America went into an anticommunist hysteria. The country experienced another Red Scare, just as intense but far less known today, in the immediate aftermath of World War I. Early twentieth century America widely feared radical leftists. By the end of WWI, those fears combined with distrust of foreigners in general, whom Americans blamed for the war. The recent Bolshevik revolution in Russia and its bloody course did not help.

It was a potentially toxic mix, whose potential was realized when followers of an Italian anarchist sent dozens of mail bombs to prominent Americans in April, 1919. Two months later, on June 2nd, anarchists set off nine bombs in eight cities across the country. They were accompanied by flyers that read: “War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions“. The result was a major panic, and what came to be known as the First Red Scare.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
Union offices of The International Workers of the World, after a raid by Palmer’s agents. Explore PA History

America’s First Panic Over Communism

America was tense in the summer of 1919. The Spanish flu would kill as many Americans as Covid-19, in a population about a third the size of 2024’s, race riots raged, and major strikes caused serious disruptions. Anarchist bombings on top of all that led many to imagine a vast and coordinated communist conspiracy to tip America over into revolution. In response, US Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, whom anarchists had tried to bomb twice in 1919, set out to suppress radical organizations. From late 1919 through early 1920, he organized nationwide police actions that came to be known as the Palmer Raids. Wartime laws such as the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 had criminalized many forms of speech. The Sedition Act in particular had criminalized disloyal language against the US government, whether spoken or written.

With many Americans in the grip of panic about a Bolshevik style revolution, Palmer weaponized those statues to target radicals. As tensions mounted in 1919, Attorney General Palmer startled the House Appropriations Committee with alarmist testimony. He falsely stated that radicals planned to “rise up and destroy the government in one fell swoop“. He requested a huge budget increase to thwart that, but the committee eventually gave him only 5% of what he had asked for. Thwarted but undaunted, Palmer ordered the arrest of a New York anarchist group, and charged them under a Civil War law. A federal judge swiftly tossed out the case on grounds that the defendants wanted to change the government through their free speech rights, not violence. Criminal statutes did not get Palmer what he wanted, so he turned to immigration laws.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
A contemporary cartoon applauds the Palmer raids. Newslea

The Notorious Palmer Raids

Attorney General Palmer turned to Plan B: use immigration laws to go after alien leftists, who could be deported regardless of whether they were violent or not. A 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover was ordered to investigate and identify the targets. That November, Palmer oversaw a nationwide police dragnet that went after labor activists, socialists, communists, and anarchists. The operation particularly focused on Eastern European Jews and Italian immigrants, and sought to deport them along with other “undesirable” foreigners. Basic civil rights were ignored – Hoover later acknowledged “clear cases of brutality” – as roughly 10,000 were rounded up across the country. Of those, approximately 3500 were held in detention. Eventually, 556 resident aliens and naturalized citizens were deported.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in response to the raids. It released a report that carefully documented illegal arrests, entrapment, and unlawful detentions. At the time, however, most Americans, still in the grip of panic and a Red Scare, applauded the Palmer raids. Finally, in June, 1920, a federal judge decried the Department of Justice’s actions, and ordered the release of seventeen detained aliens. He wrote: “a mob is a mob, whether made up of Government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals and loafers and the vicious classes“. That finally brought the raids to an end.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
The Brooklyn Bridge panic and disaster. Flickr

The Brooklyn Bridge Panic

The Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Manhattan across the East River, was opened in 1883. Still in use today, it is a New York City icon, and a National Historic Landmark as the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. Like many major infrastructure projects, particularly those of the nineteenth century, construction, which began in 1869 and lasted for fourteen years, was no picnic. Workers toiled in poorly ventilated underwater chambers where many got decompression sickness, and some were paralyzed. However, the work went on, and when the bridge was finally completed and opened to the public on May 24th, 1883, it was a sensation, marked by fireworks and civic pride. Then disaster struck six days later, and ruined the good mood.

May 30th, 1883, was a holiday. Crowds headed for the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge’s promenade – NYC’s highest vantage point back then. A pedestrian bottleneck formed on the Manhattan side. As the tightly packed crowd pressed forward, some people were pushed down a short flight of stairs. People screamed, and some jumped to the erroneous conclusion that the bridge was about to fall. In the resultant panic, people stampeded. Twelve people were crushed to death, and hundreds more were injured. Subsequent investigation pinned the disaster on a failure to place cops along the span, to keep the crowds dispersed and moving. It became standard practice thereafter for policemen on the bridge to keep people moving along.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
The Brooklyn Theatre’s Washington Street entrance. New York Public Library

An Even Bigger Nineteenth Century Brooklyn Tragedy

About a thousand playgoers were crammed into the Brooklyn Theatre on the night of December 5th, 1876, to enjoy The Two Orphans, one of the era’s more successful melodramas. During the intermission between the fourth and fifth acts, the curtain was down, and as the orchestra played, preparations were made for the next act. Then theatergoers heard shouts and what sounded like a brawl on the stage behind the lowered curtain. Little did they know that it was the start of a tragic disaster.

A lamp had set fire to some scenery offstage, and carpenters who first spotted the flames tried to beat out and smother it. That did not work, and the fire spread. As the curtains rose for the final act, backstage employees tried to bring the fire under control. At this point, it would have been best to tell the audience to exit the theater, since it was on fire. However, some folk overthought things. They feared that informing the theatergoers about the fire could cause a panicked rush to the exits, and lead to disaster. So they downplayed the danger – and brought about an even greater disaster.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
The Brooklyn Theatre fire. Pinterest

When Attempts to Avert Panic Led to Disaster

As flames spread backstage in the Brooklyn Theatre, some crewmembers decided that the greater danger was not the fire, but audience panic. So the actors continued their performance. As the fire spread, two actors urged the audience to remain seated. As the smoke and flames became obvious, a theatergoer yelled: “Fire! Fire! The house is on fire!” Lead actress Kate Claxton stated: “There is no danger. The flames are part of the play“. No sooner had she said that, than a piece of burning wood fell at her feet, and she screamed in terror as she jumped back. The audience reacted with the very panic that the crew had sought to prevent. Those in the balcony stampeded for the stairs, and many were crushed in the process.

The building lacked enough exits to swiftly evacuate a thousand panicked theatergoers. To relieve the pressure, an usher opened a rarely-used backstage door. Some escaped that way, but it worsened the disaster: it increased the airflow to the stage and fed the fire, which became more intense. Those in the cheap seats highest up had it worst of all. They were trapped in dark foyers and difficult-to-navigate stairs. Backstage, some actors made it out, but others stopped at the dressing rooms to change, were trapped, and perished. Many fell to their deaths from the balconies, were crushed, suffocated from the smoke, or were burned to death. The official tally was 278 deaths, but some accounts reported more than 300 fatalities.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
Cab Calloway in a zoot suit, in a still from 1943’s ‘Stormy Weather’. Smithsonian Magazine

Zoot Suit Controversy Rooted In Racism

Zoot suits took American youth culture by storm in the late 1930s and early 1940s. They featured a long coat with wide lapels and broad shoulder pads. Baggy, tight-cuffed, and high-waist pants accompanied the coat, as did pointy French style shoes. A watch chain dangled from the belt to the knees, then back to a side pocket. Finally, a color coordinated fedora, sometimes with a long feather, completed the ensemble. Zoot suits first appeared in African-American communities in Harlem, Chicago, and Detroit. Eventually, they became popular with the rest of America as part of the emerging jazz culture.

Zoots became a hit with young Latinos, Filipinos, and Italian Americans. The outfit was worn by many young whites, but there was always an “ethnic” aura about zoot suits that made it problematic for much of the white mainstream. Los Angeles area newspapers had whipped up racial tensions with sensationalist reports about a “crime wave” caused by Mexican-American youths. Their signature getup was zoot suits. The crime wave existed only in the newspapers’ imagination. Nonetheless, law enforcement reacted with frequent roundups, in which hundreds of Mexican-American youths were arrested. Their only crime was to wear oversized suits. In June of 1943, mobs of white servicemen roamed that city, and attacked allegedly “unpatriotic” Mexican-Americans wearing zoot suits. The rioters focused on Latino youths, but young African Americans and Filipinos were also targeted. Riots soon spread to San Diego and Oakland, then across the country to Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
‘Nero’s Torches’, by Henryk Simeiradzki. Polish National Museum, Krakow

A Moral Panic Over Christianity

Ancient Romans had basic assumptions about life – and right and wrong – that were sometimes extremely different from what we take for granted. That explains how otherwise normal people spent entire days in places like Rome’s Colosseum to watch other humans get killed in various gruesome ways, and deemed it great entertainment. Before it ceased operations as a gladiatorial arena and public execution site, up to a million people died in the Colosseum, aside from the millions of animals slaughtered for the crowd’s pleasure. Ancient Romans thought massive scale snuff was awesome. Their sense of humor was also on the cruel end of things.

When Rome burned in Nero’s reign, many Christians celebrated – they thought it was a sign of the anticipated end of days. Understandably, other Romans were appalled. They suspected that the Christians had started the fire or at least spread it, and demanded that they be punished. So Nero rounded up Christians, had some of them covered in pitch, and set on fire so they became human torches. Roman spectators thought that was an apt and funny punishment, especially fit for arsonists who had torched Rome, and now became torches themselves.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
No evidence exists that Christians were ever fed to lions in the Colosseum. Effectual Grace

The Myth of Martyrs Fed to Lions

The image of Christian martyrs being fed to lions in Rome’s Colosseum has long been an artistic and cultural trope. However, there is no historical evidence that Christians were ever fed to the lions in Rome’s deadly arena. To be sure, Roman authorities sometimes visited horrific punishments upon some Christians. Moreover, there actually were waves of official persecution against Christians. However, there are no contemporary accounts of Christians being fed to the lions. Such tales were popularized by what came to be known as the Acts of the Martyrs, accounts of the sufferings of early Christians, compiled after Christianity became the Roman Empire’s official faith.

While such accounts are historically dubious, history nonetheless owes them many thanks: they saved the Colosseum. In the centuries after the Western Roman Empire fell, Rome went into a steep decline. The Colosseum was among many buildings pilfered of marble and stone to reuse in local construction, until it became the shell we know today. Starting in the eighteenth century, however, various popes cited the supposed martyrdoms in the Colosseum to declare it a site sanctified by blood, in order to preserve what was left of it.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
American GIs use a hookah to smoke drugs in Vietnam, circa 1970. K-Pics

Vietnam War Vet Drug Abuse Panic

Until 1969, marijuana was the only drug widely available to American troops in Vietnam. Then heroin showed up. It was cheap, and of such a high level of purity that servicemen could get high smoking heroin mixed with tobacco. By 1971, almost half of US Army enlistees in Vietnam had tried heroin, and of those, about half exhibited signs of addiction. In May, 1971, a congressional fact-finding mission uncovered disturbing facts: 15% of American servicemen in Vietnam were heroin addicts.

Even more military personnel in theater were recreational users of heroin, marijuana, and other drugs. The addiction epidemic spread from Vietnam to other US military installations around the world. The American garrison in West Germany was particularly hard hit. The armed forces first turned to a mixture of military discipline and penalties, combined with limited amnesties. That approach was a dismal failure: heroin use skyrocketed. The idea that so many servicemen were addicted to heroin led to a moral panic back home and horrified the American public.

These Irrational Fears From History Take The Cake
GIs in Vietnam line up a urine collection station to test for drugs. K-Pics

An Overseas GI Addiction, and its Impact Back Home

To address the addiction epidemic and resultant moral panic, President Nixon created the Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention. He also ordered further research on military personnel addiction. It revealed that the congressional fact-finders had been mistaken: things were actually worse. Instead of 15%, the true figure for self-identified addicts in Vietnam was actually 20%. This took place as America drew down its troops in Vietnam. About 1000 servicemen were sent back home each day, where most were discharged soon thereafter back into civilian life. If the addiction figures were true, it meant that hundreds of active heroin addicts were being released into the US each week. Such a huge influx of hardcore drug addicts created serious social problems.

The military changed course. Rather than rely on courts martial, treatment was emphasized. Instead of hope that addicts would self-report in the hope of “amnesty”, widespread urine testing was employed to detect heroin use. Under the new policy, American servicemen in Vietnam who tested positive for heroin were kept in theater under treatment until they dried out, before they were sent back home. There, they received further treatment in VA facilities. It was a vast improvement, and the relapse rate among those who underwent such treatment was a relatively low 5%.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading


Allen, Stewart Lee – The Devil’s Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History (2003)

Avrich, Paul – Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background (1991)

Brooklyn Eagle, December 20th, 1876 – The Inquest: How Three Hundred People Met Their Death

Collectors Weekly – Love Boats: The Delightfully Sinful History of Canoes

Cracked – 14 Moral Panics Over Historical Inventions

Encyclopedia Britannica – John Jay, United States Statesman and Chief Justice

Encyclopedia dot Com – Vietnam: Drug Use In

Gavi – The Long View: Ye Olde Anti-Vaxxers

History Collection – Unusual Historic Events That Will Make You Cringe for Days

History of Vaccine – History of Anti-Vaccination Movements

Hopkins, Keith, and Beard, Mary – The Colosseum (2005)

Kamienski, Lucasz – Shooting Up: A Short History of Drugs and War (2016)

Library of Congress Research Guides – Brooklyn Theater Fire (1876): Topics in Chronicling America

Los Angeles Times, June 4th, 2018 – Zoot Suit Riots: After 75 Years, LA Looks Back on a Violent Summer

Mental Floss – 5 Historical Attempts to Ban Coffee

Mexican Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer, 2000 – The Los Angeles ‘Zoot Suit Riots’ Revisited: Mexican and Latin American Perspectives

Moss, Candida – The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom (2013)

Murray, Robert K. – Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 (1955)

New York Times, September 16th, 1922 – City Has Wild Night of Straw Hat Riots

New York Tribune, May 31st, 1883 – Fatal Panic on the Bridge

Pittsburgh Press, September 16th, 1910 – Straw Hat Riot

Slate – The 1922 Straw Hat Riot Was One of the Weirdest Crime Sprees in American History

Smithsonian Magazine, June 17th, 2014 – The Gory New York City Riot That Shaped American Medicine

Star Tribune, August 1st, 2013 – Canoe Craze Marked by Romance, Ribaldry

ThoughtCo – The Brooklyn Bridge Disaster