1517 – Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church. The event marked the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
1926 – Magician Harry Houdini died, following a ruptured appendix that had been damaged twelve days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows.
1940 – The British air victory in the Battle of Britain prevented Germany from invading Britain.
1941 – Mount Rushmore was declared complete after 14 years of work. At the time the 60-foot busts of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were finished.
1952 – The U.S. detonated its first hydrogen bomb.
1956 – Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole.
1959 – Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine from Fort Worth, Texas, announced that he would never return to the U.S. At the time he was in Moscow, Russia.
1968 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam.
1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated near her residence by two Sikh security guards. Her son, Rajiv, was sworn in as prime minister.
1988 – Debbie Gibson held a séance at her Halloween party to contact the spirits of Liberace and Sid Vicious.
1993 – River Phoenix died at the age of 23 after collapsing outside The Viper Room in Hollywood.
2008 – Distribution Video Audio, Inc. shipped its final shipment of VHS tapes to stores. The company was the last major United States supplier of pre-recorded VHS tapes. (Image: SYFY)