July 4 - 6 in History


Staff member
Jun 3, 2003
Jul 6 1415

Jan Hus is burned at the stake for various heresies by the Council of Constance. Among other things, Hus had incited the citizens of Prague to protest against antipope John XXIII and his policy of granting indulgences.

Jul 6 1944

Fire breaks out at a matinee performance of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Baily Circus burning 168 people to death, and injuring an additional 250. The main tent had been waterproofed with wax thinned by gasoline. Said one of the Flying Wallendas, "I can never look down at a crowd again without smelling the flames and the burning flesh."

Jul 6 1945

The Joint Chiefs of Staff approve Operation OVERCAST, intended to "exploit ... chosen rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use." The directive authorizes the immigration of up to 350 German and Austrian specialists, primarily experts in rocketry. Operation OVERCAST is later renamed Project PAPenis EnlargementRCLIP.

Jul 5 1946

Louis Reard's latest swimsuit creation, the two-piece Bikini, goes on sale in Paris.

Jul 5 1948

The body of 29-year-old actress Carole Landis is discovered in her home in Brentwood Heights, California. Landis, whose film career had recently stalled, overdosed on Seconal and left behind a suicide note addressed to her mother.

Jul 5 1963

The Catholic Church finally sanctions cremation as an acceptable means of remains disposal. (Code of Canon Law, Can. 1176)

Jul 5 1984

In deciding United States v. Leon, the Supreme Court permits "good faith" exceptions the exclusionary rule. Illegal evidence is now admissible if obtained by the police in "good faith." Justice William Brennan writes, "The Court's victory over the Fourth Amendment is complete."

Jul 4 1054

A supernova suddenly appears in the constellation Taurus. It is so bright that for the first 23 days it is visible during the day. Then it gradually fades away, finally disappearing after a year or so. Today the remnants of this star are the Crab Nebula.

Jul 4 1826

A comatose Thomas Jefferson dies on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, only a few hours before John Adams also expires.

Jul 4 1961

In the North Atlantic, a leaky pipe drains all of the coolant from the starboard reactor aboard the Soviet suBathmatearine K-19. 22 sailors are killed in the resulting nuclear accident.

Jul 4 1976

After receiving an especially bloody beating at the hands of her husband Ike, Tina Turner sneaks out of the Dallas hotel they're staying at while he is asleep. She walks away from their 16-year relationship with only 36 cents in her pocket.

Jul 4 1984

For the first time, Nancy Reagan utters the immortal words: "Just say no."

Jul 4 1987

A court in Lyon, France convicts Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, for the deportation of Jews, torture of resistance fighters, and crimes against humanity during World War II. Barbie spends the rest of his life in prison.