In 2001, a 70-year-old Moroccan woman named Zahra Aboutalib felt intense stomach pain. An ultrasound scan found a white mass and on an MRI scan doctors were horrified to find calcified remains of her unborn baby. Back when she was 26, Zahra was admitted to a hospital for labor pains, but she fled the hospital in fear after witnessing another woman dying in childbirth. Her unborn baby calcified inside her and she gave birth to a stone baby when she was over 70 years old.
2. The ‘Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab’ was a toy lab set that was produced by Alfred Carlton Gilbert in the 1950s. For $49.50, parents could buy their kids a kit that included a Geiger counter and radioactive elements like Uranium ore and Plutonium-210. The kit’s intention was to allow children to create and watch nuclear and chemical reactions using radioactive material.
3. San Pedro prison in Bolivia is a thriving community and also a tourist attraction. Unlike other prisons around the world, this special prison permits its inmates to live with their families, work, earn, or even buy or rent their accommodations. The “rich” prisoners can buy a private bathroom, cable television, a kitchen, and sometimes even a Jacuzzi by paying anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500. There are markets and shops inside with absolutely no guards. The 1,500 inmates elect their leader who enforces the laws of the self-run community. When an inmate enters the prison they can either purchase a cell from the prison mayor or through a freelance real estate agent. Freelance agents who work on commission place advertisements in prison restaurants and bulletin boards.
4. Psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich believed that the power of orgasm, called “Orgone Energy” could be stored in batteries and could be absorbed from the sky by the use of a special machine called a cloudbuster. He also sold a device called the ‘Orgone Accumulator’ in the 1950s that allowed a person sitting inside to attract orgone, a massless ‘healing energy’. The FDA noted that one purchaser, a college professor, knew it was “phony” but found it “helpful because his wife sat quietly in it for four hours every day.”
5. The South Atlantic Anomaly is a region in space where computers crash, astronauts lose part of their vision, and a space telescope was destroyed by a guidance computer fault. The SAA is the area where the band of radiation known as Earth’s inner Van Allen belt comes closest to the Earth’s surface. It’s an area centered just a bit off the coast of Brazil. The Hubble Telescope is actually turned off from taking observations when passing through the anomaly, and the International Space Station avoids scheduling spacewalks when passing through it. The main reason behind the high levels of radiation experienced here isn’t clearly understood by scientists as to how or why it occurs.
6X-ray Hair Removal
Before people knew the full extent of the harmful effects of x-rays, women would get face x-rays in order to kill bacteria which would make their skin look healthy and beautiful. In the 1930s high dose x-ray machines were a popular method for hair removal. Women needed upwards of 15 treatments a year to induce permanent hair removal. After a while, people who underwent these treatments started developing tumors on their faces and some even died.
7. A sonar image taken by a diving team in the Baltic Sea in 2011 revealed a 60-meter (200 ft) circular rock-like formation with a 300-meter track leading to it at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The visible non-natural origin promoted speculation that the object was a sunken UFO. Although Swedish explorers generally convinced everyone that it is a rock and not a UFO, their research has raised a lot of questions. Firstly, the rock didn’t have a silt-layer on it, which is usually the case when rocks have been lying still at the bottom of the ocean for any period of time. Furthermore, the rock seems to be covered by construction lines and boxes and it appears to be propped up by a 26 foot (8 m) high pillar.
8. The word “assassin” derives from “hashish”, referring to Nizari Ismailis, who operated out of Lebanon. They were a medieval sect of fanatical Muslims who only answered to a leader known as the “Old Man of the Mountains.” They had a penchant for covertly murdering many leaders of opposing forces after consuming large quantities of hashish. Hashishin (or “pot addict”) was a derogatory term applied to this sect by their enemies, as marijuana is outlawed under Islam.
9. In Turkey there's a province named Batman, in it there is a Batman city, through it flows the Batman River, on the river is the Batman dam, which creates the Batman reservoir, and near the dam on the Batman River is the Robin spillway. In 2008, the city of Batman sued Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros for using their town’s name without getting permission first. The mayor of Batman, Huseyin Kalkan, stated, “There is only one Batman in the world” in his defense of the lawsuit and claimed that the city should receive royalties for the use of the Batman name.
10. Child of Rage was an unnerving documentary that came out in 1992. It was about a 6-year-old girl named Beth Thomas who displayed disturbing and violent behavior while in the care of her adoptive family, including killing baby birds, being sexually inappropriate with her grandfather, stabbing the family dog with needles, and molesting her little brother. She was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder which left her unable to form any attachment to a caregiver. After years of therapy, she turned her life around and now she is a qualified nurse and has published a book.
The Yanomami are one of the most numerous, and best-known, forest-dwelling tribes in South America. They can count only up to 2 and anything more than that is called “many.” They fart as a greeting to each other. Yanomami girls experiencing their first period are isolated, forced to whisper, and fed with a stick. In 1978, anthropologist Kenneth Good, while living with the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon, was offered a 12-year-old girl as a wife, in accordance with tribal customs. They consummated the marriage soon after her first period (he says she was 15, but the tribe doesn't record ages) and had kids. The tribe cremates their dead and the resulting ash is mixed with fermented banana. This mixture is then consumed by the tribespeople, as a way of making sure that the spirit of the deceased member continues to live among them.
12. In the 17th century, the best remedy prescribed to someone suffering from persistent cough was slugs and earthworms. They were to be mashed, cut up and added to a pot of spring water and brought to the boil. Straining out the solid bits was optional, but drinking a pint of this concoction mixed with a pint of milk was said to cure even tuberculosis.
13. When legendary composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin was on his death bed he asked that when he died his body be cut open and the heart removed because he was afraid of being buried alive. Upon his death, his sister pickled his heart in cognac and smuggled it out of France, delivering it to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, where it still exists.
14. During the Siege of Leningrad in World War 2, extreme famine led to civilians becoming so starved that they would eat the plaster off walls and even resorted to cannibalism. Half-eaten bodies littered the streets and parents wouldn’t let children leave the house. Cannibalism became so prominent that a special division of the Leningrad police force was created to combat it. When the siege was broken after nearly 900 days, the Soviets wanted to prosecute those who had resorted to cannibalism. Over 2000 people were arrested and they were divided into two groups; ‘corpse-eaters’ and 'person-eaters'. The former were jailed and the later were shot.
15. A company in the UK advertises to sell human skin as the smoothest, softest leather on Earth which they make from donated skin. According to the website, the smaller grain size of human hide creates leather superior to any other animal skin put through the tanning process. Customers pay thousands of dollars for these products (a wallet costs $14,000) and prefer anonymity.
16Super Soldiers Experiments
In the 1920s, Josef Stalin set in motion a plan to create a race of super-soldiers by crossing human and chimpanzee genetics. He tasked his top veterinary scientist Ilya Ivanov with this job. Ivanov specialized in the field of artificial insemination and the interspecific hybridization of animals. He tried to create a human-ape hybrid by inseminating three female chimpanzees with human sperm (including his own), but he failed to create a pregnancy. He then tried to use ape sperm to impregnate a human female but was delayed by the death of his last orangutan.
17. Hyaluronic acid which is used to keep arthritic joints lubricated and used in plastic surgeries to plump wrinkly or sagging skin is sourced from a very strange place. Red combs of roosters and hens turn out to be some of the best sources for hyaluronan, a compound that doctors called the next best thing after Botox. It’s probably one of the only parts of a chicken or rooster that humans don’t eat and if one can get money from waste, then what’s the harm.
18. Toxoplasmosis Gondii is a brain parasite that spreads through cat feces. In rats, it slows them down, causes attraction to cats, and generally makes them less fearful. This parasite is transmissible to humans and can cause humans to excessively care for cats. Also, infected female humans are more likely to find infected males attractive. Recent studies have also shown that infected humans were more likely to take risks and found a positive correlation between successful entrepreneurs and T. Gondii infection.
19. Aztecs are rather famous among historians for the different kinds of sacrificial rituals they performed to appease their deities. Children were required to cry before being sacrificed so that their tears would wet the earth to appease the Aztec deity Tlaloc. If they didn't cry, priests would tear out their fingernails to trigger crying. To honor the sun god Huitzilopochtli, the most famous rituals involved the removal of a living person’s heart. Earth mother Teteoinnan’s offerings generally required skinned female victims. Archeologists have discovered a site of mass sacrifice at the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan. Depending on the sources, it is said that Aztecs sacrificed anywhere between 4000-80,000 people over four days, which would be 41-840 sacrifices per hour for the entire festival.
20. Thomas Silverstein spent the last 36 years of his life locked alone in solitary confinement. He was first put in prison for a robbery that netted him only a few hundred dollars, but in prison, he joined Aryan Neighborhood and murdered inmates which netted him additional life sentences. After killing a correction officer, he was placed in a windowless underground cell in 1983. He was only once released out of his cell briefly during a prison riot. He died in 2019, well before his theoretical release date of 2095.
A Scold's Bridle sometimes called the Witch's Bridle was an instrument of punishment; a form of torture and public humiliation in 16th century Britain & Scotland. The device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head and introduced a spiked bit to be inserted into the mouth to prevent speech, torture, and humiliate women that nagged, gossiped, or quarreled. The chain allowed men, sometimes the husband of the scold, to lead them through town to be beaten and humiliated.
22. Before germ theory, people believed in “miasma theory”, which was the idea that sickness came from “bad air”. “Miasma” is the Latin word for “bad air” and the word “malaria” actually derives from the Italian for “bad air” - the mal'aria because it was thought that Malaria was caused by bad-smelling air associated with swamps.
23. A 'PG Lips' tea plantation in China hires virgins with C-cup breasts to pick tea by grabbing the leaves with their lips and then dropping them into a wicker basket nestled between their breasts. The women cannot touch the leaves or the basket with their hands, and in addition to specifically requesting C-cup breasts, the plantation also requires that the women have no visible scars or wounds. According to the spokesperson for the company, this odd requirement comes from a legend about how the tea used to be picked by the mouths of fairies. With this method, the tea is supposed to be infused with the virility and purity of the virgins, which is then passed on to the person who drinks the tea.
24. Pressed duck is a traditional French dish. The duck is strangled so as to retain its bodily fluids. It’s then semi-roasted, legs, breast, and liver removed. The rest of the carcass is then placed in a special duck press to extract the liquids and marrow from the duck to serve as a sauce over the cooked breast. The dish was created at the Tour d’Argent restaurant in Paris in the 19th century. Soon after, it didn’t take long for duck presses to make their way into home kitchens.
25. After getting a frantic 911 call that a 75-year-old woman seemingly refused to get out of her chair, police arrived at Barbara Foster’s home in Springfield Township. They were soon horrified to find that Barbara, who weighed upwards of 550 pounds, was literally molded to her chair as her skin had begun attaching itself to the fabric. When they tried to remove her from her house her bones started breaking. After a month-long stay in the hospital, she died in 2017.