Bad News From the Past: blog devoted to century-old bad newspaper stories

The Hope Chest: Bad news from the past is a blog that reproduces late 19th/early 20th century bad news reports from various American newspapers, with a little snappy commentary at the end, such as "Telling little snapshot of what life was like before the liberalization of divorce laws. I wonder what the charge might have been had there been no children in the household to 'protect.'" and "The democratization of the automobile in the late Teens and Twenties was not without its social costs. Neighborhood pedestrians conditioned to horse-drawn traffic were slow to adapt to the new speed of life; drivers didn't know what the fuck they were doing. The consequent death toll gave rise to the journalistic concept of the 'vampire auto,' which basically meant a hit-and-run car."

The Hope Chest: Bad news from the past (via Beyond the Beyond)


  1. Interesting. As a global society presently we seem to have gotten over the vampire car concept and now accept thousands upon thousands of deaths and injuries every year in order maintain our unbridled access to personal automobiles. Some may even consider driving a right rather than a privilege. Certainly the older drivers with dementia that make up part of my PhD research are pretty annoyed when they are sent for a driving test.

  2. I have to assume the death toll is much lower today, what with cars loaded with safety features, traffic laws, and almost everyone having a lifetime familiarity with cars. Still, driving is the most dangerous activity most people engage in.

  3. Moriarty,
    You’re probably just as likely to get your ass run down at 45th and Cottage Grove today. Summer in Chicago always brings an outbreak of “hit-and-runs,” particularly in the evening. Chicago is also known for having cross-walks where drivers are not required to stop for pedestrians, a feature that is particularly common on the South Side. My theory is that the city is attempting to breed especially fast children.

    Some of the authors’ comments on Chicago drivers are also right on the money.

  4. This reminds me of the Futurama episode where Bender has to spend the night in the haunted castle and is stalked by the vampire car :)

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