The Naked City Jun 30 2009
LORD ON THE LOOSE
It's been thirty-five years and there's still no sign.
 
It all started November 7, 1974, when a bloodied woman stumbled into a London pub screaming, "Murder, murder! I think my neck has been broken! He's tried to kill me!" The woman was Countess Veronica Lucan, wife of the Seventh Earl of Lucan. Fifteen minutes earlier she had gone into the basement of her six story residence and been attacked in the dark. Her assailant beat her over the head then shoved his gloved fingers into her mouth in an attempt to suffocate her. During the struggle she heard the attacker’s voice and realized it was her husband. She managed to fight him off, and they both collapsed from their exertions. In those few minutes, according to Lady Lucan, her husband admitted killing a woman named Sandra Rivett, pictured above, who was the live-in nanny. Minutes later, having regained some of her strength, Lady Lucan fled the house while her husband was distracted.
 
None of patrons of the pub went to the Lucan residence. It was only thirty yards away, and Lady Lucan had said she was afraid for her children who were still in their upstairs bedrooms, but the pubgoers remained where they were and instead called the police. It was the right decision, of course—understandably prudent. But in those crucial minutes while the house was unobserved, Lord Lucan made his escape. A few facts about his movements immediately following the murder are known. He drove south to Uckfield, East Sussex, to the manor house of his friends Peter and Susan Maxwell-Scott, where he remained for several hours, making one phone call and writing two letters. He left just after midnight and disappeared. No trace of Lord Lucan has ever been found.

Some people claim he killed himself in the woods surrounding the Maxwell-Scott’s home, but most believe him to still be at large. He was a professional gambler—a skill quite useful for a man needing to support himself off the books—and he had friends all over the world that might have sheltered him. There have been a number of false alarms over the years—one person claimed to have seen him in Tahiti, and in 2007 he was even briefly believed to be living in a car in New Zealand. But the stories were investigated and dismissed, and Lord Lucan remains missing. After thirty-five years, he has become a legend on the order of Bigfoot—a mystery that fascinates and bewilders the British public, and probably will continue doing so for many years to come.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
August 22
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
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1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
August 21
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.

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