"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"
- Edgar Allen Poe
The world is incredibly strange. So strange, in fact, that many of us do our best not to think about all the things that go bump in the night...
At the same time, though, there is a magnetic pull to the macabre. Like the aftermath of a car crash, or the allure of a horror movie, many of are drawn by morbid curiosity to understand the dark side of life. It seems to be human nature.
So, in service of that strange fascination, we've collected this compendium of life's darkest facets. But please remember: we do so only to help you understand the world around you. What you do with this information is entirely up to you...
Researchers have found a link between cycling and impotence. One study showed a 28-year-old cyclist whose blood flowed to his sexual organs had the sexual performance equivalent to that of a 60-year-old man. Essentially, this is caused by the pressure from sitting on the long, narrow tip of a bicycle seat too much, which can lead to permanent damage.
Miranda Barbour claimed she used Craigslist to lure and kill at least 22 people, but that she didn't feel any remorse about it because the people she killed were "bad." She also said that she if she were released, she'd kill again.
Scorpions can go a year without eating and still survive. They do this by slowing down their metabolism, and can also deal with extreme temperature changes. To make things worse, they're cannibals and will eat each other if necessary to survive.
Tiny bugs live on your face and thrive by eating your dead skin cells. Yummy, right? These bugs are called demodex mites, and they're spread through skin-to-skin contact. Another fun fact is that you get more of these mites the older you get, so the next time your grandmother leans in for a kiss, maybe opt for a nice, firm handshake instead.
Over 1,600 people have vanished in US National Parks, never to be seen or heard from ever again. After 9/11, the US government put in place an analysis and reporting system so that missing people could be found more easily. Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped people from disappearing in National Parks... and since tracking these people is often virtually impossible, many of them tend to stay missing.
The late Stephen Hawking stated that artificial intelligence would be the worst event in the history of our civilization, and would wipe us out like Skynet in Terminator. Bill Gates, however, believes that AI technology will help humanity fight disease and improve the quality of our lives. We’ll see…
Halloween was celebrated by the Celts thousands of years ago to honor the dead on November 1st. But since the veil between the living and the dead weakened on October 31st, the folks preferred to keep the dead away by offering food and wine, and wore masks to fool the ghosts into thinking they, the living people, were dead too.
Britain has a bus that relies on human feces to run. Yes, seriously! It's known as the Biobus and seats 40 people. It runs on biomethane gas, which is created through the treatment of sewage. The waste produced every year by five people can give one bus a full tank of gas, and it can travel up to 299 kilometers (186 miles) before needing to refuel.
A 1975 Congressional testimony revealed the CIA had a created a gun that could give you a heart attack. It shot darts that left a tiny red dot. The poison worked quickly, but most people didn't feel a thing until it was too late. The poison darts could even penetrate clothing. It was also impossible to detect during an autopsy because the poison would dissolve fairly quickly.
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Austrian Josef Fritzl trapped his daughter Elisabeth in a soundproof basement for years, even fathering seven children with her before she escaped and his perversions were revealed. All told, Elisabeth spent 24 years underground, and Fritzl was sentenced to life in prison in 2009. Reportedly, Fritzl has shown next to no remorse while incarcerated.
Driverless cars may be the way of the future, but we've got a lot of thinking to do. A debate is currently raging over if it's ethical for the car to swerve away from pedestrians before impact if doing so would actually harm the driver themselves.
Anemone, sea sponges, and jellyfish use their mouth as an anus. They only have one hole that acts as a gut opener, so they have to use it to both eat and poop. Talk about a potty mouth! Get it?!
In the immortal words of Marlin the Clownfish (that's Nemo's dad, to you non-Pixar fans): "With friends like these, who needs Anemones??"
Despite the persistent fear people have of being killed and eaten by a shark, that should really be among the least of your worries. It turns out, if you crunch the numbers, that your odds of getting trampled and killed by a cow are far, far higher: Cows kill about 5 times more people than sharks every year in the U.S.
Don't tell Hollywood though. The last thing we need is a big summer blockbuster featuring Bessie the Beast, a radioactive cow with a taste for man-flesh, terrorizing some small, quiet rural town.
Chefs often use knives and other sharp objects, and sometimes they don't even realize they've cut themselves; that’s how blood can and does end up in your food. Aside from the risk factor that comes from catching a blood-borne disease, there's also the fact that it's just downright gross.
The bones from six million corpses, most of them from hundreds of years ago, sit deep underneath the city of Paris in winding subterranean passageways. The Catacombs of Paris are now a tourist hotspot, but good luck getting the chill out of your bones when you visit.
Overall, the life expectancy among Russian men is fairly low at 64 years old, but a study found that one out of four will pass away before they hit 55. However, unsurprisingly, the risk of dying before that increases even more in those who drink three or more half-liter bottles of vodka per week. Because where else would that be a factor?
After some intense calculations, an industrious Reddit user has determined that you will likely walk past around 16 murderers at one point or another in your lifetime. Bet you can't guess who!
One hint: if you pass anyone walking around town with a mask like the one below, maybe don't spend too much time with them.
China trains their paramilitary police with a gruelling technique that’s a pain in the neck, literally. To get them to stand up straight they are made to wear crosses on their backs, but they are also forced to stick pins facing straight upward through their collars, so that if their posture slips, they'll be jabbed in the throat.
Now that's one heck of an incentive not to slouch. Maybe all those articles and warnings we've heard about how texting is going to ruin teen's posture are overlooking the obvious solution. Just get H&M to start selling t-shirts with those babies sewed in, and we'll have a generation of kids standing straighter than army sergeants.
Next time you consider ordering a dry-aged steak, think again. To create the flavors, the chefs modify the ventilation, humidity, and temperature around the meat. This not only makes the steak decay, it also produces a crusty mold layer that gets cut off before the delicacy gets put on your plate.
It's become a tradition for people to scatter the ashes of their loved ones at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. But perhaps even creepier, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride used to use real human bones for the pirate skeletons, and some employees allege that there are still a few of the original fixtures left.
Humans have been burying their dead for eons—the earliest grave sites are believed to have been located in Pontnewydd Cave, Wales and Atapuerca, Spain. It seems to be an activity which simply comes naturally to us. Instinctive—like laughter, or speech.
In fact, Neanderthals—who lived among early Homo sapiens—also most likely buried their dead. The oldest confirmed human burial site is in Israel's Tabun Cave, where remains have been found that are 100,000 years old.
The theories behind this behaviour number in the hundreds, and range from the rational and probable, to the unbelievable and bizarre. For example, some scientists have speculated that burial is an evolved behavior, which serves as a technique for avoiding the spread of disease from rotting corpses. Meanwhile, though, there are those who think there may be more superstitious origins of the habit: like for example, that we may have begun burying our dead in order to prevent the possibility of their rising again...
P.S. One more interesting tidbit: while a few other species have been observed hosting something akin to funerals (elephants, for example, sometimes stand watch over the body of a fallen friend for days), humans are the only animals on Earth who bury their dead. Monkeys, meanwhile, despite being our biological cousins, have actually been seen to eat their departed.
That's right: cannibal chimps.
Butterflies occasionally exhibit a strange behaviour known as "mud-puddling." They look for moist substances such as mud, rotting plant matter, or even dung and blood, and they suck up the fluid to gain nutrients from it that aren't in their usual diet. Species like the Halpe butterflies are particularly attracted to the sweat on human skin as well as tears and blood.
It might be difficult to accept, but 800,000 years ago it was a pretty regular occurrence for our human ancestors to eat each other, and not even as an act of desperation or starvation. Yikes.
Matt Suter was inside a mobile home in Missouri when a tornado surrounded it in 2006. Suter was carried and whipped around in the tornado an astonishing 1,300 feet before he was violently thrown into a field. This was the furthest anyone has been flung by a tornado and survived.
Some countries turn pufferfish into a meal called fugu. Although it's a delicacy, it can also be deadly: pufferfish contain tetrodotoxin, and the fish can be fatal if the dish isn't properly prepared. In fact, between 2006 and 2015, 10 people died after eating ill-prepared pufferfish.
China has created stockings full of leg hair that young women can wear. The purpose of this hairy invention is to allow women to wear shorts and skirts without the fear of attracting men's attention, as most men typically don't really want to see bushy-haired legs on a woman. Honestly? Genius idea.
The reason behind why exactly we die of old age continues to elude us. One theory is that since throughout history most creatures die before they get the chance to reach old age, there was never any chance for natural selection to screen out the genes that ultimately damage and kill us when we get old.
In 2014, a North Korean citizen was executed for the horrifying offense of making an international call to South Korea. Ri Kyung-ho was put to death and his family was incarcerated for his crime.
The Growing Up Skipper doll came out in 1975, and boy did she grow: she not only grew taller when you rotated her arm, her breast size grew too. Apparently Mattel thought that making a doll go through puberty was cool.
When the bee population dwindled over the years, everyone assumed the world was coming to an end. Experts couldn't figure out the likely reason why until recently, when they learned that a pesticide known as neonicotinoid might be poisoning the bees.
In 1945, a farmer in Colorado cut the head off of a chicken, but left an ear, most of its brain and its jugular vein in place. The chicken lived for another 18 months and was fed milk and water through its esophagus using an eyedropper. The farmer named it "Mike the Headless Chicken" and charged guests 25 cents to meet the animal. Yeah, gross.
Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous painters of all time. Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness his entire life, and he cut off his own ear while in a completely erratic mental state. Over a century later, a German artist named Diemut Strebe, who lives in Boston, used the genetic material from one of Van Gogh's descendants to 3D print a replica of his ear out of living cells. It's kept alive using a nourishing liquid.
The Avanos Hair Museum in Turkey can be found in a small cave that contains hair from over 16,000 women from all over the globe; you'll also find their contact information beside their hair sample.
Julia Caples of Pennsylvania is a real life vampire, and drinks almost two liters of blood each month from the necks of live, human donors. Caples says she first got the biting urge when she was only 15, and claims that drinking the blood makes her feel "stronger and healthier." Despite the fact that medical experts warn against these practices (not the least because of the potential for disease), Caples says the blood keeps her looking young, and she makes sure to screen her donors. Safety first?
Would you buy water allegedly left in a cup that Elvis Presley was drinking out of? Well, in December 2004, a few measly tablespoons of water from a cup that Presley may or may not have drank out of at a 1977 concert sold for $455.
Cotard's Syndrome is a rare mental condition that convinces patients that they aren't actually alive. In some cases, the patient thinks they've lost blood, body parts, organs, or their soul, which leads them to believe that they are dead. Most of these cases are the result of psychosis, a medical condition, or mood disorders, and Cotard's is usually treated with electroconvulsive techniques (ECT) rather than with pills.
In 1942, a dentist from Pennsylvania named Lytle S. Adams sent a proposal to the White House suggesting they strap small bombs to bats that would be sent to destroy Japanese cities. The bats would fly into the attics of buildings, then all the bombs could be detonated at once, causing widespread chaos and destruction. Adams came up with this idea after the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt and the military allegedly liked the plan, but they opted for the nuclear bomb instead.
Just about everything you touch throughout the day contains more bacteria than the toilet bowl that you literally defecate in. Your desk, grocery cart, cell phone, restaurant menu, ATM, and even your kitchen sink are littered with bacteria that will have you wearing Kleenex boxes on your feet and designing airplanes in no time! A study conducted by CreditCard.com and The University of Texas showed that credit cards, tablets, and ATM keypads carry even more types of bacteria than cash and coins. Yuck!
After she disappeared for six entire days, eight-year-old Katherine Van Alst was found simply sitting in a cave at Devil's Den State Park 30 miles from where she was last seen. No one understood how a little girl in a bathing suit could have made it that far, but she was also eerily calm. When they found her, she walked out of the cave and said, "here I am."
There is a bridge in Scotland that mysteriously makes dogs leap to their death, tumbling over 50 feet downward. At least 50 dogs have jumped from the bridge to date, and although people have many theories about the phenomenon, ranging from the musky scent of minks to an aggressive ghost haunting the bridge, no explanation has been satisfactory.
In 1937, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, her navigator, set out on a trip around the globe by plane. Earhart suddenly vanished over the Pacific Ocean, though radio logs indicate that she may have made distress calls. Whatever really happened to her, however, remains a mystery.
Dee Dee Blanchard made her daughter Gypsy Rose think she was sick her whole life, forcing her to live in a wheelchair. Blanchard suffered from the syndrome known as Munchausen by proxy, and she enjoyed the perverse control she had while constantly nursing Gypsy Rose back to "health." Gypsy began to crack under Dee Dee's surveillance, and eventually helped her boyfriend murder her own mother; Dee Dee was found dead, facedown in her own bedroom with multiple stab wounds.
Gary Ridgway was known as The Green River Killer and may very well have been one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. 49 victims were proven to be his handy work, but he has confessed to killing over 71 women, and investigators believed the number ranges closer to 90. Ridgway allegedly strangled and dumped his victims' bodies in remote areas between 1981 and 2001. He was caught and is in prison for life. Phew!
There's a parasite known as Cymothoa Exigua, or the Tongue-Eating Louse, that does basically what it sounds like. It enters a fish's mouth through the gills and latches on at the base of the tongue, cutting off blood flow. Eventually, the tongue falls off completely, but amazingly, other than the initial destruction of the tongue, the parasite is basically harmless. It lives symbiotically with its host and functions the same as the original tongue did. Still, a little clingy, if you ask me!
While filming Bringing Out the Dead, Nicolas Cage was stalked by a French mime who would go wherever the actor went. Even so, Cage claims that as far as mime stalkers go, this one was pretty harmless, if unsettling.
During a routine cataract surgery, the worst happened: Hector Alonso woke up in the middle of the procedure, and when he tried to alert doctors to the fact that he was awake inside of a nightmare scenario, they responded by taping his mouth shut. Alonso also claims the experience ended up blinding him in his eye, and he is now suing the hospital.
A Disney Wonder cruise crewmember named Rebecca Coriam vanished without a trace on March 22, 2011 while on the cruise off the coast of Mexico. She was allegedly seen very upset while talking on the phone just before her disappearance. Some believe she fell overboard, but her family thinks that Disney may be involved in some sort of cover up.
In 2007, a man in Florida awoke with a severe headache that he suspected was an aneurysm. He made his wife drive him to the hospital, where they found a bullet in his head! It turned out that his wife had shot him in the head while he was sleeping. She claimed the shooting was accidental and was jailed on a weapons violation. Her husband survived without severe injury.
In 1923, jockey Frank Hayes suffered a fatal heart attack in the midst of a race at Belmont Park in New York. His horse, named Sweet Kiss, finished first and won the race with his lifeless body still atop. Hayes became the first, and thus far, the only jockey to win a race after death. Hayes was only 35 at the time. The horse never raced again, having acquired the nickname “Sweet Kiss of Death” for the remainder of her life.
What would happen if Pinocchio were to say, “My nose grows now?” There’s no way to know—it’s a paradox! The statement is a variation of the “liar’s paradox” in which a statement “I am telling a lie” can be logically neither true nor false. The so-called “Pinocchio paradox” was devised by 11-year-old Veronique Eldridge-Smith in 2001. The paradox was published in the journal Analysis, written up by her father.
Christopher Columbus became stranded in Jamaica on his way to the New World in the early 16th century. Knowing that he was wearing out his welcome with the local tribes and that a lunar eclipse was near, Columbus warned the natives that the moon would vanish if they did not continue to feed him and his sailors. Sure enough, he correctly predicted the lunar eclipse on March 1, 1504, and cowed the locals into supporting his troops further.
In July 1518, a dancing plague swept through Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of France. It caused about 400 people to dance like crazy for days without stopping.
Many of those who were affected eventually collapsed from exhaustion or died from a stroke or heart attack. One theory suggests it was caused by a psychoactive compound, similar to LSD, found in ergot fungi, which can commonly grow in wheat.
It turns out that 20% of coffee mugs found around the office break room contain fecal matter. A University of Arizona study conducted by Doctor Charles Gerba in 1997 revealed this horrific fact. The cause behind this was the result of communal kitchen sponges rarely being properly cleaned or replaced, which led to the passive spread of bacteria. Rinse your sponges people!
If you lose your head, you die. There's no way around that. However, there's a theory that suggests that the blood in your brain remains oxygenated for about 12 seconds after being severed. In theory, this could keep your brain functioning for a few more seconds. In fact, during the French Revolution, some witnesses claimed they saw severed heads looking around shortly after getting chopped off.
Police in the town of Morecambe in the UK were surprised one morning to find the Grim Reaper himself waiting for them at the station. It turned out to be a 31-year-old man named Christopher Kelly, who wasn't from town and got far too drunk the night before. Wandering around the town lost, he broke into the Morecambe Town Hall and preceded to soil himself. He took off his clothes, but found a Grim Reaper outfit to put on and keep warm. He wandered around some more, looking for his friends, but eventually gave up and went to the station for help.
Companies like Apple and Ford have dodged the question of whether a self-driving car would kill passengers, while Mercedes-Benz stated that their self-driving cars would protect the lives of their passengers at all cost. On the other hand, Google claimed their self-driving cars would avoid hitting a pedestrian, and if necessary, drive the car into a bollard, which could lead to the passenger's death. So you might want to stick to driving your good, old and boring "human driven" car.
A parasite found in cat feces can take control of a rat's mind if they ingest it. The parasite is known as Toxoplasma gondii, and it can only reproduce inside of a cat. When a rat ingests it, it is able to alters the rat's brain functions so that they're drawn to the smell of feline urine. This makes them an easier target for a cat to find and eat the rat, starting the cycle all over again.
Long before bros with popped collars, Abercrombie & Fitch was originally a sporting goods store best known for their expensive shotguns. When Ernest Hemingway killed himself, he allegedly did it with his favorite shotgun, which he purchased from none other than Abercrombie & Fitch.
When Britain changed the packaging for Tylenol to blister packs instead of bottles, suicide deaths from Tylenol overdoses declined by 43 percent. Anyone who wanted 50 pills would have to push out the pills one by one but pills in bottles can be easily dumped out and swallowed. Blister packs also reduce the risk of accidental poisoning in young children.
The population of Iceland is rather small, and many of the 300,000 people of the insular nation are related to one another. So how do you avoid dating a distant cousin? There’s an app for that! A new smartphone app allows users to tap their phones against each other to find out if they’re related or not. The app even has a catchy slogan: “Bump the app before you bump in bed.”
The population of China is booming, but it isn’t booming evenly. A severe gender imbalance among newborns means that by 2020, more than 24 million men won’t be able to find a spouse of the opposite gender! In China, it is still considered preferable to have male children, so adoption and sex-specific abortions are considered the cause of the gender imbalance.
In 1913, Adolf Hitler, Sigmund Freud (that's the psychology and dreaming guy), Joseph Tito, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky all lived within 2 square miles of each other in Vienna, Austria. I wonder if they ever had sleepovers?
The world's largest consulting and auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, suggests that robots will take over even more of our jobs in the near future. They suggest that in Japan, 21% of the jobs will be handled by robots, in the United Kingdom, 30% and in the US, 38 % of jobs will be done by machines by the year 2030.
The Exorcist wasn't just scary on the big screen, there were twisted and unexplained mishaps behind-the-scenes as well. Jack MacGowran, the actor who played Burke, got influenza and died, many other actors were injured, and the set burned down. They even had to get a priest brought in to bless the set on more than one occasion, but I guess it never took.
There are some tumors that are able to grow hair, teeth, and their own organs—it's like having another person growing inside of you. Talk about twisted!
In 2008, doctors in Colorado Springs in the US took out a tumor from a baby that contained a partially formed foot, a hand, and a thigh. In 2007, doctors removed a lump from a Japanese woman's right ovary that had an eye and internal organs. You may be a huge sci-fi fan, but reality is always stranger than fiction, baby!
Some Americans were annoyed when a statue of a defiant little girl was placed in front of the famous bull statue at the New York Stock Exchange. Maybe they wouldn't have been so upset if someone had given them some perspective, because it really could be worse—the stock exchange in Milan has a 13-foot-tall sculpture of a middle finger!
There is a town in New Mexico called Truth or Consequences. The town was originally called “Hot Springs," but changed its name in 1950, after an NBC radio program. The radio show offered to broadcast its 10th-anniversary show from the first town to change its name, and the town formerly known as Hot Springs did just that. Truth or Consequences today boasts an area of 12.6 square miles and a population of only 6,500.
Ancient Egyptians used to put dead mouse paste in their mouths. They believed that the mashed mouse mush would ease a toothache when applied with other ingredients, because why not? Yet another reason to be thankful for Novocaine.
Ancient Egyptian women used crocodile dung as an early contraceptive. A pessary made of the dung, plus honey and sodium carbonate was inserted inside the vagina. However, since crocodile dung is slightly alkaline, like modern-day spermicides, it's possible it actually could have blocked or killed sperm. Still though...
Vulcan Point in the Philippines is the world’s largest island within a lake that is itself on an island in a lake on an island…. Got that? An island (Vulcan Point)… in a lake (Main Crater Lake)… on an island (Taal Island)…. in a lake (Lake Taal)… on an island (Luzon)… in the Philippine Sea. Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines, which is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands!
The first-ever mutiny in space was on Skylab 4 on December 28th, 1973. The three-man crew on the space station turned off radio communications with NASA for a full day, spending the day relaxing and refusing contact with mission control. The men had spent a record length of time in space, over 12 weeks, which in addition to the heavy workload, isolated environment and physical effects of microgravity, is thought to have caused the psychological stress that led to the mutiny. It turns out even astronauts need a day off.
Parasitic worms and bacteria can be transmitted through saliva when we kiss. Triatoma insects, also known as "kissing bugs," can be transferred this way and, after burrowing into a person's heart, can cause something called Chagas disease, which can be potentially deadly. How about a hug instead... through a plastic bubble?
What's worse than a rat? Try a whole group of rats who have fused together, their tails intertwined with hair and other substances such as gum or sap.
In ancient times, these so called "Rat Kings" were deemed an omen of misfortune. Today, though, they're so rare some people even question whether the phenomenon even exists. However, museums like the Mauritianum in Altenburg, Thuringia claim to have a mummified rat king on display.
Grab some bug spray the next time you visit Japan. The Japanese giant hornet's venom is so strong that it can even dissolve the flesh of a human. It's also said that one hornet alone has the power to wipe out 40 European honeybees per minute. An Entomologist from Tamagawa University in Japan described her encounter with one of this hornets as a "hot nail through my leg."
If an ant gets drunk, its fellow comrades will carry it back to the nest to sleep off the alcohol. According to a paper published by Sir John Lubbock in 1884 called Ants, Bees and Wasps. A Record of Observations on the Habits of the Social Hymenoptera, while “no ant would voluntarily degrade herself by getting drunk,” that when he plied ants with alcohol, “the sober ants seemed much puzzled at finding their friends in this helpless and discreditable condition. They took them up and carried them about for a while in a sort of aimless way, as if they did not know what to do with their drunkards, any more than we do.”
Why would you want to get an ant drunk, you ask? Robert Hooke is likely the first man to intentionally get an ant drunk, though it was for a noble cause. Hooke was attempting to sketch the insects for his book Micrographia, which was to be the second book published by the Royal Society way back in 1665. He found the only way to make the insects stay still without killing them was to dunk them in brandy.
Susan and Brian Trost from Missouri bought a home for $450,000, but little did they know that it was swimming with Brown Recluse spiders. Sadly, they didn't know about the spiders until they started coming out of the walls. Pest control experts claimed that there were close to 5,000 of these spiders in the house. Just one bite can lead to pain, nausea, swelling, itching, and potentially organ failure. Naturally, the couple sued the original homeowners.
Get a hold of this: FDA regulations allow for a certain amount of insects to be present in the food you eat. In fact, 10 insects and 35 fruit fly eggs per 8 ounces of raisins is perfectly acceptable. The FDA is also cool with 5 rodent hairs and 150 bug fragments to remain present in one pound of peanut butter. This totally killed my craving for some Raisin Bran with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Ugh, who am I kidding? Pass the peanut butter, please...
France adopted the guillotine as its method of execution during the French Revolution (1789-99) and kept using it for over 200 years. The last person to be executed by guillotine was Hamida Djandoubi in 1977! That’s right—France was still using the guillotine when Star Wars was in theatres!
A very fertile man can produce up to five milliliters of semen per ejaculation, containing up to 1.5 billion sperm. That means he could theoretically impregnate every woman on earth in just one go!
In the 1980s, DC Comics created a character called Snowflame, who got his powers from cocaine. His only weakness? Cocaine Addiction. One can only imagine how they got the idea for such a character…
A Nigerian man named Harrison Okene was onboard a tug boat named "Jascon-4" when the boat sank and landed upside down on the bottom of the sea. Fortunately, Harrison was in an air pocket, which allowed him to survive. He sent 60 hours in his little underwater prison.
Catrina McGhaw signed a lease on her North County ranch house in 2014. Not long after that, the St. Louis woman was contacted by a family member who told her to check out a documentary on serial killers on A&E. That's when McGhaw discovered that the house she was in had belonged to Maury Travis, a killer who used the property as a torture chamber. Some of the victims had been tied to a pole in the basement. So much for a home sweet home!
Pepper spray and tear gas are increasingly common crowd-control tactics used by police in times of protest all over the world. But while these weapons continue to be used domestically, but they are technically classified as chemical weapons and are forbidden in warfare.
According to the India Times, studies have found that breathing the air in Mumbai on the day of Diwali is equivalent to smoking 113 cigarettes! The air pollution on Diwali comes from the widespread use of firecrackers to celebrate the holiday.
UVB-76 is a shortwave radio station that is also known as "The Buzzer." The station has been broadcasting a low, monotonous buzzing sound since 1982. Freakishly enough, you can sometimes hear Russian voices in the transmission too. The thing is, no one really knows where the transmission is coming from, but of course many people believe it is of Russian origin, only adding to the mystery.
Straight men might not be into other guys, but they love looking at their privates. A book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts, by Sai Gaddam and Ogi Ogas, claims that straight guys frequently search close-ups of male genitals, usually large ones. One theory suggests that men's fascination with the penis comes from our primate roots. For many other male primates, the phallus is an important tool for many social activities, not just sex.
Alcatraz, one of America’s most notorious and impenetrable prisons, was for a time the only prison in the United States to provide inmates with hot showers. Alcatraz is on an island in San Francisco Bay, and the hot showers were thought to hinder escape, by making sure inmates didn’t get acclimatized to the freezing cold Bay water and swimming to shore.
On rare occasions, dead women can give birth to dead fetuses. This phenomenon is known as coffin birth, and it occurs when a deceased pregnant woman expels gas while in a state of decomposition. This flushes the dead fetus out. The condition usually occurs anywhere between 48 and 72 hours after the mother has passed away. Now that's an interesting fact that you probably never wanted to know about and now can never forget.
In Brazil, a two-year-old boy tragically died from pneumonia. His grieving family made funeral arrangements over the next few days—and then received the shock of their lives when the boy suddenly sat upright and asked his father for water. Overjoyed and astonished, the parents were still in for another devastating heartbreak, as the boy then lost consciousness once more and couldn't be revived, leading the coroner to proclaim him dead once more.
During the Civil War, patients drank alcohol to numb the pain of surgery—but oftentimes the surgeon would take a nip for himself to calm his nerves. Or two. Or more... A Confederate hospital matron by the name of Phoebe Yates Pember claims that one doctor was so drunk that, when setting a patient's broken ankle, he set the healthy ankle. Afterwards, a fever set in and the patient died from his injuries.
The Disney film Pinocchio was based on an Italian children’s story from the 1880s. The story does feature a cricket (though the name “Jiminy Cricket” is a Disney invention), but his story takes a rather dark turn. In the original, Pinocchio kills the cricket after it tries to give him some advice, and the cricket comes back as a ghost to continue advising him.
Alcatraz, one of America’s most notorious and impenetrable prisons, was for a time the only prison in the United States to provide inmates with hot showers. Alcatraz is on an island in San Francisco Bay, and the hot showers were thought to hinder escape, by making sure inmates didn’t get acclimatized to the freezing cold Bay water and swimming to shore.
According to his (authorized) biography by Walter Isaacson, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a rather unusual way of relieving stress: In the early days of Apple, he would soak his feet in the water of the office toilets.
In 1973, one of the weirdest scandals in sports occurred when New York Yankees players Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich decided to trade families. They traded wives, children, even dogs! After the couples became close friends, Peterson fell in love with Kekich’s wife and vice-versa. “It’s a love story. It wasn’t anything dirty,” Peterson told a reporter in 2013. Peterson is still married to the former Mrs. Kekich, though Kekich and his new love, the former Mrs. Peterson, have since split.
Soldiers in the Russian army only started wearing socks in 2013! They previously wore squares of cloth called portyanki wrapped rightly around their feet. The upside of portyanki was that they freed up Russian clothing factories from manufacturing socks, and they could be made easily on the fly should soldiers need replacements on the battlefield. The drawbacks? They could cause pain and blisters if worn incorrectly, and they took time to wrap—army regulations stipulate soldiers be fully dressed within 45 seconds, wraps included.
A 2012 study in the journal Annals of Epidemiology found a that it was much more likely (about 14 percent) that people over 60 will die on their birthdays. The study, which analyzed more than 2 million deaths, found that strokes and heart attacks rose 18.6 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively, on birthdays. What a bummer!
Zombie tits (better known as Great tits) are a species of bird that have learned to track down tiny bats, split open their skulls, and feed on their brains.
In the city of Yiwu in eastern China, locals were confused as to how a couple managed to run a busy restaurant 21 hours a day—from 6 am to 3 am—without getting tired. They were nicknamed the “robot couple.” The townspeople eventually learned their secret, and it wasn’t the simplest explanation after all. The couple was actually two couples—identical twins married to another set of identical twins! The twin brothers married the twin sisters, and the four of them decided to go into business together. Said one of the brothers, “Many diners thought we worked too hard and are like robots, but they don’t know that we are actually four people.”
Mount Everest is considered the tallest mountain on Earth, and there are 200 plus bodies of climbers who have tried reaching the top and failed. No one really knows exactly how many bodies are up there, but they remain frozen in time, as recovering them could pose serious risks. Any altitude above 8,000 meters (26,000 feet), on Everest or any other mountain, is referred to as the “death zone,” which is both scary and cool as heck. On Everest, most deaths occur in the death zone, but more happen during descent than during summit. At least they made it to the top first, right?
If you feel totally fed up by people, want to completely avoid humanity, and have a big ol’ yacht or other craft that could sustain itself in the middle of the ocean, then come to Point Nemo. It's in the center of the South Pacific and is 2,688km (1,670 miles) from the nearest habitable islands. Many call it the loneliest place on Earth, and if you're lucky enough to find it, the only thing you'll find here is solitude. Spookily enough, it’s known as a “spacecraft cemetery” because decommissioned spacecraft gets deposited there upon re-entering the atmosphere.
Embedded in our DNA are telomeres, which keep our chromosomes in check. Generally, they become less effective as we age, but they can also be affected by chronic stress. A research study found that young parrots who were kept in isolation showed symptoms of advanced aging as a result of the stress from that isolation. Essentially, the lonelier you are, the sooner you'll end up six feet under.
Children who are born into a rich family—as in, making more than $150,000 a year—feel constantly pressured to be better, according to a study. This pressure can later lead to depression, substance abuse issues, and even eating disorders. But you know what? We'll take the risk, ‘cause who doesn't want to go home and cry about it in a huge McMansion?
If you ever needed a good excuse to give up being a vegetarian and go back to eating Big Macs, here's one. It turns out that vegetarians suffer from more mental illnesses, like body dysmorphia, anxiety, and depression. What’s worse is that no one has a clue why. You'd think avoiding cancer-causing meats would be a reason to celebrate!
In June 2001, a woman named Laura Buxton from Blurton, Staffordshire, UK, put a note with her name and address inside a helium balloon and let it go. The helium balloon traveled to Pewsey, Wiltshire, UK, where another Laura Buxton found it, and replied to her 10 days later. Oddly enough, the two Lauras are both 10 years old and have the same types of pets. Cue the X-Files music.
Twisted facts? How about a twisted corpse?
In the early 20th century, a Russian scientist named Aleksei Kuliabko filled the veins of a corpse that had been dead for only a day with a concoction that would supposedly revive his heart. And guess what? It worked! The now-living corpse began making an odd breathing sound that scared everyone, but after 20 minutes, Kuliabko terminated the experiment on his “human zombie.”
When King Phillip of France (“Phillip the Fair”) discovered his three daughters-in-law were having intimate relations with knights from his court, he forced his daughters to stand trial for adultery. Two of the daughters were found guilty. They had their heads shaven and were sentenced to life imprisonment. Th knights were found guilty and were subject to a gruesome torture and execution: they were castrated, flayed, disemboweled, and hanged.
In 1999, Karen Overhill began finding herself in strange places with no idea about how she got there. She also found bookmarks further into books than she remembered reading, heard voices at night recapping her day, and ran into people who she didn’t know but who knew her. She discovered that she was suffering from an extreme case of multiple personality disorder, and had been living with 17 distinct personalities. She was eventually able to get rid of them all, and can finally be alone with her thoughts.
Although it was a political marriage, the union between Joanna I of Castile and Philip “the Handsome” of Burgundy was one of passion, albeit lopsided passion. By all accounts, Philip was into Joanna, but just not enough to stay faithful. Unfortunately, Joanna was really into Philip. When Philip’s mistress had the misfortune of crossing paths with his wife, Joanna apparently snapped and hacked the other woman’s hair off with scissors. Still unsatisfied with the 'do, Jo then stabbed her in the face. But it gets worse. When Philip died, Joanna refused to let him go. Literally. Refusing to part with her philandering husband, she viciously clung to the body. Even when her father and the government stepped in to finally bury Philip, their separation did not last long. Joanna ordered him exhumed, leapt at his coffin, and kissed his dead feet. From that moment on, you couldn’t have Joanna if she couldn’t bring Philip. The coffin—thankfully closed most of the time—would accompany her to meals, travels, and even her bedside. Only years later did Philip return to the ground, albeit at a safe distance, i.e., buried right outside of her window. On the bright side, Joanna’s cheating husband was finally all hers.
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My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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