What happened on this day in history: William Wallace is executed, Bobby Dunbar goes missing, and more events that took place on August 23rd.
1305: William Wallace Is Executed
After being captured less than three weeks earlier, William Wallace, a main leader of the First Scottish War of Independence, is executed for high treason in England. Wallace was stripped naked and dragged through the city of London by four horses. He was hanged until he was almost dead, then cut down, and gruesomely mutilated. He was castrated, and his bowels were removed from his abdomen and burned before him. Finally, he was beheaded. His head was placed on a spike at London Bridge, and his other body parts were sent to other parts of the country to be displayed.
1912: Bobby Dunbar Goes Missing
Four-year-old Bobby Dunbar goes missing while on a fishing trip with his family at Swayze Lake in Louisiana. Eight months after his disappearance, police thought they’d located him in Mississippi. The Dunbars positively identified him, but a woman named Julia Anderson later said that he was her son. As Anderson couldn’t afford a lengthy legal battle, the wealthier Dunbars won custody. But decades after “Bobby” died in 1966, his son took a DNA test in 2004. It was revealed that “Bobby” had not been related to the Dunbars after all. Instead, he was the son of Julia Anderson. But eerily, to this day, no one knows what happened to the real Bobby Dunbar.
1927: Nicola Sacco And Bartolomeo Vanzetti Are Executed
Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed by electrocution in Boston, Massachusetts for murder. Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of killing the paymaster for a shoe company and his security guard. There was little evidence against them, and they had no criminal history. However, anti-radical sentiment was high in America at the time, so they may have been targeted simply because they were anarchists.
1936: Henry Lee Lucas Is Born
Henry Lee Lucas, the “Confession Killer,” is born in Blacksburg, Virginia. In the 1970s, Lucas and his companion Ottis Toole murdered, raped, and cannibalized hundreds of victims. At least, that’s what they claimed.
The two would eventually land in prison for their crimes, and police struggled to piece together the truth behind their allegations. To this day, authorities are not sure how many murders the men actually committed and how many they fabricated. And since both of them eventually died in prison, the truth may never be known for sure.
1991: The World Wide Web Opens To The Public
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, launches the first web page available to the general public. A British computer scientist, Berners-Lee developed the website while working at CERN in Switzerland and opened it to the public on what is now known as Internaut Day. The site contained information about the World Wide Web, such as frequently asked questions and an executive summary of the project.