It might not be the most odious bet ever placed in the United States, but it may be America’s most evil wager that we know about. And now, climate change has unearthed more information about the last ship to bring slaves to these shores.

According to local legend, in the late 1850s, wealthy plantation owner Timothy Meaher was so certain that he could sneak illegal slaves kidnapped from Africa past federal officials, and into Alabama, that he was willing to put his money where his mouth was. Notwithstanding a 50-year-old law prohibiting any further international slave trade, Meaher hired Captain William Foster to sail a large schooner named the Clotilda to Africa where Foster purchased and transported 110 humans to the US in unspeakably brutal conditions. The men and women were smuggled ashore in Mobile under cover of darkness without anyone from federal government noticing their scheme, transferred to smaller boats, and delivered in chains to local plantation owners across the state.

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STARZ is presently casting roles for the television adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods, anticipated to air in 2017. Following the success of shows like Game of Thrones and Outlander, both fantasy literature-turned-drama series, the show has the potential to be one of the most diversely cast programs on television. If the major roles are cast according to Gaiman’s original vision, it could embrace a wide variety of ethnicities and cultures.

In the series, Neil Gaiman suggests that when people emigrated to North America, they brought their culture and their gods with them. Gaiman’s America is full of gods from every group dating back to the Vikings, up to and including present day immigrants. The plot follows an ex-convict, Shadow, as he becomes a bodyguard for a man known as Mr. Wednesday. Those familiar with Norse lore will recognize Wednesday is a synonym for Woden’s Day, or Odin’s Day, indicating that Mr. Wednesday represents the Norse god Odin. Shadow’s work for Odin takes him across the country, leading to several encounters with other deities in human form from a wide swath of cultures. These include the Egyptian gods, Thoth, Anubis and Bast; the Hindu goddess Kali; the African god Anansi; Whiskey Jack or “Wisakedjak” of Algonquin lore; and Bilquis, the Queen of Sheba.

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