This Day In History, July 26th

What happened on this day in history: The FBI is created by U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren is born, and more.

1847: Liberia Proclaims Its Independence

The Republic of Liberia proclaims its independence. Formerly a colony of the American Colonization Society, an organization created to return enslaved people to Africa, Liberia swiftly called upon the international community to recognize its sovereignty. Britain became the first nation to do so, but the United States didn’t recognize Liberian independence until 1862.

1908: The FBI Is Founded

Today In History July 26

Public DomainCharles Bonaparte, a grandnephew of the French emperor, founded the FBI.

U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte creates a force of special agents within the Department of Justice, which eventually evolves into the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Bonaparte, frustrated at having to “borrow” secret service agents to investigate crimes, resolved that he needed his own investigators. Initially unnamed, Bonaparte’s force became the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) in 1909 and then the FBI in 1935.

1945: Helen Mirren Is Born

Helen Mirren

ShutterstockHelen Mirren during the filming of 1969’s Age of Consent, which was her breakthrough movie role.

Ilynea Lydia Mironoff, later known as Helen Mirren, is born in London, England. After beginning her career as a stage actress, Mirren went on to star in films like The Madness of King George (1994), Gosford Park (2001), and The Queen (2006), for which Mirren won the Oscar for Best Actress.

1984: Ed Gein Dies

Ed Gein

JOHN CROFT/Star Tribune via Getty ImagesEd Gein admitted that he killed two women, and police found human skin, bone, and other remains in his Plainfield, Wisconsin home.

Ed Gein dies at the age of 77 at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Wisconsin.

Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 40: Ed Gein, The Butcher Of Plainfield, also available on Apple and Spotify.

Gein spent years quietly grave robbing and killing women in order to build a suit out of human skin so that he could “embody” his mother. Ed Gein’s gruesome hobby was discovered after a local woman went missing in 1957 and police searched his home.

2009: Diane Schuler Crashes On The Taconic Parkway

Diane Schuler crashes while driving the wrong way on New York’s Taconic Parkway, killing all but one passenger. After going on a weekend camping trip with her children and nieces, Diane packed up her minivan and prepared to make the trip back home. A few hours into the trip, witnesses reported seeing a minivan driving aggressively and another reported seeing a woman vomiting next to her minivan on the side of the road.

The minivan eventually made it onto the Taconic Parkway where it sped down the wrong way for roughly two miles, only stopping when it collided head-on with another car. Seven of the 11 people involved in the crash died.