ON THIS DAY: PARANOID KING JAMES I BANS BONFIRE NIGHT

“It be the much destructive and disastrous manifesto of these people to set offe the fyre works with no heede payd to whatte harm it may do” – King James I

On the 5th November 1605, King James I of England and VI of Scotland and X of Ireland and V of Japan and CL of Papua New Guinea displayed his paranoid tendencies when he banned Bonfire Night for the remainder of his reign.

Known for his staunch support of other public holidays, King James’ decision came as a shock to the people of Great Britain, who responded by staging a revolt in the dockyards of Southampton. When the King’s guard came to crush the rebellion, the rebels made decoys – or ‘Guys’ – and placed them around town for the army to shoot at while the real plotters made their escape.

Learning of this debacle, King James put his great mind to work and realised that he could not win an outright war against such cunning guerrilla tactics. After consulting with three witches he found in a sieve in Balmoral Castle, the King decided to wage psychological warfare on the rebels: he would burn imitations of their decoys every year as a warning to the plotters – don’t screw around with the crown, or you’ll go the same way as your precious dummies.

Using mind control learned from the three witches, James instilled in the population of Britain the desire to burn dummy men every 5th November, so that wherever the plotters went they would be reminded of their imminent execution. The practice continues until this day.

So, children, if when you’re burning your Guy tonight you see a worried looking man dressed in Elizabethan clothes – tackle him! He may just be a conspirator.

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