The Loch Ness monster was reportedly sighted. (1933) This was the first modern sighting of the creature, and started the craze for searching the Loch Ness. Theories about what the Loch Ness monster is — or if it even exists — abound, and include everything from a rare species of whale to a surviving dinosaur to water oscillation.
J. Edgar Hoover died. (1972) Hoover had been the director of the FBI for almost 50 years, and virtually created it in its modern form. He wielded an incredible amount of power and kept files on millions of potential "dissidents," which eventually led to Congressional reforms in the FBI.
Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was wounded by friendly fire. (1863) He died several days later of his wounds. Jackson was Robert E. Lee's right-hand man, and his death was a huge blow to the Confederacy.
Spanish citizens revolted against French occupiers. (1808) French forces had occupied Spain since February of that year on the orders of Napoleon. The uprising was violent, but ultimately unsuccessful, and was the subject of two famous paintings by Francisco de Goya.
The first airliner flew. (1952) The de Havilland Comet was the first commercial plane to be powered by jet engines as opposed to the much more inefficient turboprop engine. It made its maiden flight on this day from London to Johannesburg.
Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (1955) The play, which was later adapted into a movie, was said to be Williams' personal favorite.
Precision GPS became available to the public. (2000) Before this day, precision GPS was closely controlled and only available to the military. The degraded "Selective Availability" signal available to civilians was turned off at midnight on May 1, and precision GPS was made available to the public.
Prisoners took over Alcatraz. (1946) Prisoners in Alcatraz took over the facilities for two days in what was later termed the "Battle of Alcatraz." Several guards and prisoners were killed before prison officials regained control, and the incident led to increased security in the prison.
Good Housekeeping first went on sale. (1885) The magazine quickly became popular with women, and has featured guest writers including Virginia Woolf, Somerset Maugham, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Comedian Jack Benny's first radio show premiered. (1932) Benny was an extremely popular comedian, and was known for his many different characters, penchant for playing the violin badly, and absurd scenarios.