On This Day, November 30th
1. 1989: One of the few female serial killers in America takes her first victim
If you happen to read the newspaper on this date in 1989, especially in Florida and surrounding areas, it probably would’ve read something along the lines of “America’s first female serial killer taking her first victim” which was later determined to be inaccurate. But due to the rarity of a female serial killer and the sudden widespread notoriety and fame of Aileen Wuornos caused the press to give her the title even though there have been previous cases documented as early as 1820. Wuornos picked up a man named Richard Mallory in Palm Harbor Florida on this date in 1989 and he wasn’t seen again until his body turned up two weeks later. Over the next year, Wuornos had six more victims before finally being apprehended in January of 1991. She was later found guilty and received a total of four death sentences. Her story was later turned into a Hollywood film starring Charlize Theron as Wuornos called Monster.
2. 1994: Achille Lauro sinks while en route to South Africa
The Achille Lauro, the luxury cruise liner that was infamously hijacked back in 1985 by members of the Palestine Liberation Front, caught fire off the coast of Somalia on this date in 1994 and sank to the bottom of the ocean. The ship had served a long and colorful life, to say the least. Originally launched back in 1947 the construction of the mighty ship took more than 10 years. It was built by the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Line and originally had the name Willem Ruys but was changed to Achille Lauro in 1971. The early stages of its career it was used to transport people and goods back and forth from Netherlands to the East Indies. In 1960 it began carrying immigrants to Australia until 1965 when it was purchased by the Star Lauro company and converted to a cruise liner. While traveling in the Mediterranean Sea in 1971 it accidently hit an Italian Fishing boat which unfortunately resulted in a casualty. Then in 1981 there was a massive fire on board which resulted in two casualties, then, of course, the hijacking. Then nine year later the fire broke out when there were over 1,000 people on board and while luckily rescue workers managed to save 998 of them, two, unfortunately, went down with the ship. Italian officials reported that it was a cigarette that had been discarded, but it was later determined that one of the engines had blown causing the fire.
3. 2004: The reign of Jeopardy King Ken Jennings comes to an end
Being a software engineer from Salt Lake City Utah doesn’t really bring you much fame, fortune, and noteriety. Well, maybe the fortune depending on how good of an engineer you are. But when you go on a long time running trivia game show Jeopardy and proceed to win 74 straight games you better believe people are going to start recognizing your name. That’s exactly what happened to a man named Ken Jennings back in 2004. He won a total of $2.5 million which is a record for any game show ever produced in the United States. Not only did it create a huge boost in rating for the game show, but also a huge boost in the stock on Ken Jennings. He had appearances on Late Night with David Letterman as well as Jay Leno, even Barbara Walters was talking about Ken Jennings and named him one of the 10 most fascinating people of that particular year. Plus he had a spot on Sesame Street, all just by being very good at trivia and answering in the form of a question. However it al came crashing down on this date in 2004 when Jennings lost during his 75th game of Jeopardy, thus snapping his 74 games winning streak that had lasted over six months.