By Russell Miller
During an archaeological dig at the prehistoric village of Cladh Hallan (on the island of South Uist, off the coast of Scotland) scientists discovered two preserved bodies-one male, one female. Strangely, these bodies had been buried 300 to 600 years after their deaths; having been left in a bog to mummify before being transported to their final resting place. Stranger still, was the fact that these fetal positioned bodies were actually composites of as many as six different people who had been deliberately pieced together into two complete cadavers.
ODDLY ENOUGH …Whereas the female body had been composed of body parts that date to around the same period of time, the male was made up of parts from people who had died a few hundred years apart.
Navy cannon projectiles have varied creatively for centuries, depending on the desired effect upon the enemy. Spider shot (chained together cannonballs) and Angels (split balls separated by an iron rod) were designed to spin wildly and rip through masts and rigging, rendering the enemy vessel nu-maneuverable. The hinged blade-shot would spin and deploy knives destroying sails and crushing moral. Some ships had cannonball furnaces on board developed for heating cannonballs red hot (approximately 1,500 degrees F) to be fired at enemy targets to start fires or produce black powder explosions.
ODDLY ENOUGH … Heated shot, though very effective at times, was incredibly dangerous for the artillery batteries who handled them. The shot could injure those who heated and transported the shot, they could set off any loose powder near the cannons, or even warp when fired, jamming the bore of the gun. This is why the term “hot shot” began to refer to persons who were reckless or drew trouble to themselves or those around them.
Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King.