Oct 5 1858
An arsonist sets fire to New York City's iron and glass Crystal Palace. America's most prestigious museum is reduced to 1,200 tons of molten slag, causing $2 million in damage and destroying thousands of priceless artworks belonging to the American Institute.
Oct 5 1864
60,000 are killed when a tropical cyclone hits Calcutta. On the same day, a 200-foot tsunami kills thousands in Kamaishi, Japan.
Oct 5 1942
German engineer Herman Graebe witnesses a Nazi mass execution in the Ukraine. After the war, he writes a famous and terrifying testimony.
Oct 5 1990
After a ten-day trial, a jury acquits the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center of obscenity charges resulting from an exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. So, bullwhips up the ass are now officially A-OK.
Oct 5 1994
Predicting that the world would soon end in an environmental disaster, homeopath Luc Jouret and 52 others belonging to his Order of the Solar Temple commit mass suicide near Cheiry, Switzerland and Montreal, Canada.
Oct 5 1996
Less than a year after Thomas Hamilton gunned down a teacher and 16 preschoolers in Dunblane, Scotland, British authorities ban the sale of Slaughter in the Playground, a CD-ROM game based on hunting and killing children on a school playground.
Oct 5 1999
In a move reminiscent of both Nazi crimes committed against Gypsies and the postwar construction of the Berlin Wall, the town of Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic begins construction of a barrier to separate a portion of its Gypsy population away from more respectable folks.