On This Day, November 9th
1. 1965: Great Northeast Blackout
It was on this date in 1965 that one of the biggest power failures in United States history took place, causing what we know now as the Great Northeast Blackout of ’65. Almost the entire state of New York, as well as parts of seven surrounding states and even parts of Canada, were in complete darkness just as rush hour hit. This left millions of people trapped in subways, office buildings, trains and anything else that used electricity during what would be their normal commute home. Apparently, it was caused when a 230-kilovolt transmission line tripped near Ontario and that caused all of the main lines under heavy load to fail. Because the city of Manhattan was in complete darkness, more than 5,000 off-duty police officers and 10,000 National Guardsman were called in to prevent chaos and looting. More than 30 million people were affected by the blackout, but luckily the problem was fixed by morning and power was restored.
2. 1989: East German officials open the Berlin Wall
It was on this date in 1989 that one of the most infamous symbols of the Cold War came crashing down as East German officials decide to open the Berlin Wall. Really they didn’t have much of a choice considering that Hungarian officials had decided to open their border to Austria, which had been closed previously to prevent people from circumventing the wall. Although, it was bound to happen sooner or later because the communist leadership that enforced the wall had started to loose its power. This was a direct reflection of the drastic political changes taking place in the area at the time.
3. 1971: John List murdered his entire family
Now consider yourself warned, this is a horrific story about a man that was a devout husband, father, and even boy scout leader and Sunday School teacher. I will do my best to spare you the terrible details, but it all started on this date in 1971 when John Emil List brutally murdered his entire family including his wife, mother, two sons, and daughter in their home located in Westfield, New Jersey. According to reports he laid out the bodies on sleeping bags, cleaned up the place, cut himself out of every picture in the entire house, turned the radio to a religious station, and then disappeared. Because the family was known to be somewhat reclusive and anti-social, police officials didn’t discover the bodies until December 7th, almost a month later. List had picked up an alias and moved down South where he even remarried and lived for a total of 18 years as a wanted fugitive. He probably would have gotten away with it had it not been for the popular TV show, America’s Most Wanted that aired the story in the late ’80s. Luckily one viewer had called in and said that List was using the name Robert Clark down in Virginia. Police soon zeroed in on List’s location and he was arrested and taken back up to New Jersey to stand trial for his heinous crimes. The judge showed no mercy on this monster, giving him 5 consecutive life sentences. When asked why he did it, list replied: “there is too much evil in the world and he killed them to save their souls”.