Finn J.D. John

"Offbeat Oregon:" Unusual stories of historic Oregon ... suggestions welcomed.

Image: Ben Maxwell/Salem Public Library##An unidentified man poses with a chunk of beeswax he found on the beach in 1955.

Offbeat Oregon: Scientists, historians solve mystery of 17th century ‘Beeswax Wreck’

Since the beginning of European settlement along the Oregon Coast, people have wondered about the source of the mysterious chunks of beeswax that were continually turning up there. It seemed there was ...

Image: Debunker.com##One of two images taken by Paul Trent, showing what appears to be a flying saucer near his farm, located between McMinnville and Sheridan. The area around the UFO has been darkened to enhance its clarity.

Offbeat Oregon: Fierce debate over McMinnville UFO sighting continues today

Evelyn and Paul Trent lived on a farm between Sheridan and McMinnville in the years just after the Second World War. They were, by all accounts, just-plain-folks — good neighbors, solid citizens ...

Image: flickr.com/
hollywoodplace##This image from an advertisement for America’s Independent Electric Light and Power Companies in the April 1957 issue of Newsweek Magazine shows how flying-saucer stories were being incorporated into people’s visions of the future.

Offbeat Oregon: Flying saucer stories got start in Pendleton

If you were getting ready to take a UFO-themed road trip around the western U.S., there are several places that would naturally be at the top of the list. There’s Roswell, New Mexico, of course. ...

Image: Wikimedia Commons##An illustration from “Robur the Conqueror” (also know as “The Clipper of the Clouds”), a Jules Verne sci-fi novel from 1886. This shows the climactic scene, in which Robur’s airship, the Albatross, outperforms its lighter-than-air rival, the Go-Ahead. The Go-Ahead’s crew members are throwing ballast overboard to gain altitude.

Offbeat Oregon: Oregon called out California papers' UFO stories in 1890s

“Fake News” — meaning the kind that’s simply made up by a creative thinker sitting at a keyboard and pondering what will drive the most clicks — is having a moment just now. Offbeat ...

Image: Marion County Historical Society##Sen. John F. Kennedy greets Mary M. Barr at the Salem airport on Sept. 7, 1960.

Offbeat Oregon: Oregon was JFK's make-or-break state in '60 primary

As the 1960 Democratic presidential primary neared, Sen. John F. Kennedy was looking at Oregon with increasing apprehension. At that time, Oregon was the first Western state to hold a mandatory primary ...

Image: Horner/Gazette-Times##Abigail Scott Duniway as she appeared in the late 1800s.

Offbeat Oregon: Abigail Scott Duniway thought she'd be remembered for novels

Abigail Scott Duniway is a name that’s very familiar to most Oregon history buffs. She was a pioneer, a journalist, a newspaper editor, and a tireless advocate for women’s suffrage. All of ...

Ben Maxwell/ Salem Public Library##Howard A. Black, curator at Grant County Museum in Canyon City, Oregon, holds the skull of Berry Way and a “California collar,” or noose, of the type Way was hanged with, in this 1963 photograph.

Offbeat Oregon: “Paint your Wagon” meets “Perry Mason,” but playing for keeps

Exactly 155 years ago today, Deputy Frank McDaniels returned home in Canyon City after a long and grueling manhunt. McDaniels was exhausted. But he’d gotten his man. He had murder suspect Berry ...

Image: UO Libraries: A political cartoon by the legendary Tige Reynolds, on the front page of the April 13 edition of the Portland Morning Oregonian, illustrated the response to assistant librarian M. Louise Hunt’s refusal to invest in war bonds.

Offbeat Oregon: Librarian’s crime: Failure to lend money to government

On April 12, 1918, Oregonians opened their newspapers to learn that there was a traitor in their midst. “PORTLAND LIBRARIAN RADICAL IN DECLARING LOYALTY TO KAISER!” shrieked the Salem ...

Image: Northern Illinois University Libraries##A drawing of Deadwood Dick Sr. from the Beadle’s Half-Dime Library catalogue.

Offbeat Oregon: Deadwood Dick's far-fetched adventures

Between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the 20th Century, the most popular form of fictional entertainment in America was dime novels. Dime novels were cheap paperback novelettes printed ...

Image: UO Libraries##Portraits of three of Alfred Belding’s victims, published in the Sunday Oregonian on July 13, 1902: his wife, Sylvia Maude McCroskey Belding; his mother-in-law, Deborah McCroskey; and his father-in-law, Lemuel McCroskey. No portrait of George “Gyp” Woodward was published.

Offbeat Oregon: 'Unwritten Law' couldn't help man when he murdered his in-laws, too

Alfred Lester Belding may have intended to try to claim the protection of the “Unwritten Law” when he made his plans for revenge. But, reviewing the historical record, it seems more likely ...

Image: UO Libraries##Defendant William Dalton as he appeared in court, along with some of the witnesses who helped convict him, drawn by the Morning Oregonian’s courtroom sketch artist for the Dec. 10, 1901, issue.

Offbeat Oregon: Murderers mess with wrong woman

It was after 10 p.m. on a Thursday night, and Multnomah County District Attorney George Chamberlain was dressing for bed when the telephone rang. He seized the receiver. “Who’s there?” ...

Image: Flux Magazine##William Begg as he appeared some 40 years after the shipwreck, posing with the salvaged figurehead from the Glenmorag’s bowsprit.

Offbeat Oregon: Getting shipwrecked and nearly killed was luckiest break of man’s life

March 19, 1896, was probably the best, luckiest, and all-around most wonderful day of William Begg’s long and happy life. But it sure didn’t look that way at the time. In fact, as he ...

Image: Oregonian##A photo illustration of the Baker Theatre from the Portland Morning Oregonian in 1902.

Offbeat Oregon: Mayor Baker’s theater defined Portland culture for decades

Most modern Oregonians interested in Portland history don’t quite know what to make of George L. Baker. Baker served longer in the office of Mayor of Portland than anyone ever has, before or since. ...

Image: Oregon Historical Society##The “flag” that appeared at the top of the The Firebrand’s front page.

Offbeat Oregon: Anarchist newspaper editors jailed for publishing 'naughty' articles

The editors and writers of Anarchist-Communist newspaper The Firebrand, published in Portland and distributed nationwide from 1895 to 1897, surely expected to get some resistance from the establishment. ...

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