California-based freelance writer.

As a staff writer for the Lodi News-Sentinel and Earth.com, I write about history, mental health, the environment, pets, and other topics. I also write speculative fiction.

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Mercy brown article
mental_floss

How Tuberculosis Inspired the New England Vampire Panic

The vampire legend may have made its way into New England as an early version of the unproven “miracle cure” for tuberculosis. In 1784, a newspaper published a letter about a foreign “quack doctor” who had been spreading an unusual cure for consumption.

Strange tales article
mental_floss

7 Strange Tales From the Wild West

The old Wild West is the stuff of legends: Gunslingers robbing banks and trains. Cowboys on long cattle drives. Gold and silver rushes. Dinosaurs, UFOs, feral camels, and giant cannibals probably don’t come to mind.

Itliong article
mental_floss

Retrobituary: Larry Itliong, Leader of One of the Nation’s Most Successful Strikes

On September 8, 1965, about 1500 Filipino workers walked off the wine and table grape fields of Delano, California. The Delano grape strike, as it would become known, has been heralded as one of the nation’s most important labor struggles, thrusting the fight for Latino civil rights into the national spotlight—but the Filipinos who started the strike, especially leader Larry Itliong, have long been overlooked.

Famous cats article
mental_floss

10 Cats Who Were Famous Before the Internet

Cats were celebrated long before the internet. Some accomplished feats that few humans, and fewer animals, ever could, while others simply caught the public imagination. These felines—explorers, war heroes, psychics, and political figures—usually found their fame through newspapers.

Constance kopp article
mental_floss

10 Trailblazing U.S. Law Women

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the idea of a woman in law enforcement—especially a woman doing the same dangerous work as their male colleagues and not sitting behind a desk—was unheard of. At least, it was until these women came along. From detectives to deputies to sworn police officers, these trailblazers paved the way for women to have careers in U.S. law enforcement.

Kate article
mental_floss

Retrobituary: Mary Katherine Horony, Independent Woman of the Wild West

Most people who know Mary Katherine Horony (sometimes Haroney) know her as Big Nose Kate, the on-again, off-again lover of Wild West legend Doc Holliday. She usually appears, when she appears at all, as a footnote in movies and stories about Holliday and his good friend Wyatt Earp, the famed lawman and gunfighter. But that famous duo may never have even met if it wasn't for Kate, who was a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

Laura bullion article
mental_floss

Retrobituaries: Laura Bullion, The Thorny Rose of the Old West

Laura Bullion was a natural outlaw—it was family tradition, after all. Her father, Henry Bullion, was a bank robber. Her uncle by marriage, William “News” Carver, rode with the Black Jack Ketchum Gang of train robbers. So perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that Laura joined the Wild Bunch, the gang known for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, taking part in train robberies and forgery until she was nabbed by the long arm of the law.

Gettyimages 101920141 article
mental_floss

9 Women Who Helped Win the American Revolution

The men who led the American Revolution—George Washington, Sam and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Ethan Allen, and countless others—are well-known. But a number of women aided them in securing a victory over the British. Women played vital roles in the Revolution, serving as soldiers, raising morale, and even spying on the enemy.