Tales of the Wild North

The thunderclap—at least that's what it sounded like—woke the whole of Normanton. Still in his pajamas, the police sergeant rushed to the river bank, where a group of local men—"practical jokers," says Wolfgang Arneth, who's telling the story—were drinking rum. "What are you silly bastards up to now?" the cop said. "We're going to be famous,'' came the reply. "We've sent a man into space.''

Arneth, a 70-year-old former crocodile hunter who goes by the name of Wolf, is reminiscing about the great Normanton rocket launch of 1957. He was among the party of inebriated amateur scientists...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!