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The Beer Hall Riot That Changed the World

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Scuffles at bars and pubs are common. Even full-blown fights that involve most of the establishment’s patrons are known to happen. Beer hall riots that end up launching a World War—those are rare.

In July 1921, a police spy and former WWI soldier named Adolf Hitler was elected as leader of the National German Socialist Workers’ Party, newly renamed the “Nazi Party." By 1923, the Nazi Party decided that they had enough clout and manpower to take over the Bavarian government by kidnapping Gustav von Kahr, state commissioner of Bavaria. They planned to capture him by storming his November 8 speech at Bürgerbräukeller, one of Munich’s largest beer halls.

At first, everything went as planned. Hitler and some of his closest pals burst in, with Hitler firing a threatening shot into the ceiling for good measure. Von Kahr and two of the leaders with him agreed to help Hitler with the rebellion, and they were eventually let go. Once free, however, von Kahr went back on his word and called in reinforcements. By the time Nazis tried to take over various government buildings the next morning, von Kahr’s troops vastly outnumbered them. Less than 24 hours after it had begun, the Nazis' attempt to take over Bavaria had turned out to be an utter failure.

On April 1, 1924, Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for high treason for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch. During the trial, his impassioned and well-written speeches were printed in the newspapers, which resulted in a whole new slew of Nazi supporters. Not only did he serve less than one of those five years—in a fairly cushy prison, by the way—it also gave him time to write the first volume of Mein Kampf.

When Hitler exited prison after serving less than one-fifth of his sentence, he and other high-ranking officials in the Nazi Party had decided that physical force wasn’t the way to get Germany to support their cause. Instead, they would infiltrate the political system and work from the inside out—which is exactly how they ended up gaining power.

Sadly for von Kahr, Hitler never forgot the failed kidnapped attempt and the false promise of rebellion. In 1934, the 71-year-old man was found hacked to death by a pickax on the Night of the Long Knives, a purge that took out nearly 100 of the Nazi Party’s political enemies.

The rest, unfortunately, is history.

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25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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