Everyone knows Julius Caesar had a pretty bad March 15th. But he’s not the only one! Here are six other people (or groups of people) who would have been better off staying in bed on the Ides.
Film producer Varick Frissell
In 1931, Frissell was shooting additional footage for his groundbreaking movie The Viking, the first Canadian movie made with sound and the world’s first talkie ever shot on location. Somehow, dynamite on the ship used for blasting icebergs was somehow set off, killing some men in the explosion, others in the resulting fire, and still others when the ship sank. All in all, 27 people perished. Frissell’s body was never found.
On March 15, 1916, Major General John Pershing led 4,800 men into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa under orders from President Woodrow Wilson. Villa’s men had executed 16 Americans headed via train to an American-owned mine in Chihuahua in January; another 17 people were killed two months later when Villa’s men ventured into the border town of Columbus, New Mexico. However, the Expedition ended a year later and was considered by Pershing to be a complete and utter failure. Villa lived until 1923, when he died at the hands of assassins who had nothing to do with the Expedition.
The dumbest thing Charles Dickinson ever did was insulting Andrew Jackson’s wife. After repeated attacks on his own character and to his wife’s honor, Jackson challenged Dickinson to a duel in 1806. Dickinson shot first, striking Jackson in the chest very close to his heart. Jackson put one hand over his chest to stop the blood, then took his aim. The gun misfired, which should have counted as his shot. However, Jackson fired again, this time killing his opponent. This all happened in May, so why were the Ides of March a bad day for Dickinson? Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767.
At the young age of 46, H.P. Lovecraft succumbed to cancer of the small intestine with a contributory cause of kidney disease. Though his years were few, his writing was revolutionary and prolific. Stephen King, Clive barker, Neil Gaiman, Jorge Luis Borges, John Carpenter, Joyce Carol Oates and Guillermo Del Toro all count Lovecraft as a major influence on their work. Had he lived to write another day, who knows what the creator of the Necronomicon and Cthulhu would have come up with?
Without much ado or fanfare, The Ed Sullivan Show was canceled in 1971. It was so sudden that there was no series finale - though it’s said that Sullivan, angry and hurt at CBS, actually refused to do one. He had admitted himself that the show was waning, but was reportedly heartbroken about the cancellation because he was just two years away from seeing the show hit the 25-year mark.
Guests and staff of the Hotel New World
On March 15, 1986, a six-story building - three stories of which housed a hotel - in Singapore unexpectedly crumbled to the ground in less than a minute, according to reports. By the time all of the survivors were pulled out days later, 33 people were dead. It was later discovered that the structural engineer had made some fatal miscalculations.