• On March 6, 1776, a committee of the New York Provincial Congress instructs Major William Malcolm to dismantle the Sandy Hook lighthouse in order to prevent it from aiding the British by warning ships of the rocky shore. Malcolm succeeded, but the British were soon able to put the lighthouse back into service.
• On March 5, 1815, Franz Anton Mesmer, a German physician who pioneered the medical field of hypnotic therapy, dies in obscurity in Germany. In 1772, Mesmer developed treatments that included the use of ethereal music as a hypnotic device.
• On March 7, 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention — the telephone. Bell’s patent filing beat a similar claim by Elisha Gray by just two hours.
• On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, Roosevelt told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
• On March 9, 1943, Bobby Fischer is born in Chicago. Fischer went on to become the only American to win the chess world championship. Though he was clearly the dominant player in the world and had attained the highest chess rating in history, he was forced to retire from international competition in 1975 due to his increasingly erratic and bizarre behavior.
• On March 8, 1950, Volkswagen, maker of the Beetle automobile, expands its product offerings to include a microbus. Known officially as the Volkswagen Type 2, the bus was a favorite mode of transportation for hippies during the 1960s and became an icon of the American counterculture movement.
(c) 2012 King Features Syndicate, Inc.