30 Bizarre Facts Stranger Than Fiction – Part 1

1Nuns' Urine

In the early days of in vitro fertilization, fertility drugs for women were originally sourced from the urine of menopausal nuns in Italy. In the 1960s researchers realized that menopausal women’s urine contained high levels of the hormones that stimulated ovulation. As the ovaries decline, the pituitary gland raises these hormone levels in an intensifying attempt to release the remaining eggs.


2Spit Beverage

Masato is a pretty popular fermented beverage in Amazonian Peru. It is made from a mixture of the root of cassava plant and human spit. Chunks of peeled cassava are chewed by the local ladies and the liquid portion spat back into a vat. Proteins in the saliva initiate the fermentation process converting starch to sugar to alcohol, resulting in a cloudy white drink with a slightly sweet but sour taste.


3Meth

People in the past were legally able to purchase methamphetamines. Norodin was a brand name drug that was marketed towards ladies who wanted to lose weight. PanAm flights in the 1940s used to provide Benzedrine inhaler along with a large scotch and chicken for dinner. Meth moved from control by pharmacists to local drug kingpins after a slew of high profile criminal cases all over the world pointed to abuse of these narcotics as a contributing factor.


4Real Life Dracula

Vlad III earned the name Vlad the Impaler mainly because he would impale thousands of his enemies (Turks) in front of his camps including women and children. Ottoman army while on their way to attack Vlad came across 20,000 impaled corpses. They were so horrified that they turned around. He also went by the nickname Dracula and went onto become the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. He never sucked blood out of his victims’ necks but did dip chunks of bread into buckets of blood drained from the people he killed. Under his rule, impalement was pretty much the only punishment—whether you stole a loaf of bread or committed murder. In an attempt to clean up the streets of his capital, he once invited all the sick, vagrants, and beggars for a feast and burned the whole building to the ground while everybody was still inside. Historians put the deaths at the hands of Dracula at somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000.


5Zahra Aboutalib

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.


6U-238 Atomic Energy Lab

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.


7San Pedro Prison

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.


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8Orgone Accumulator

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.”


9Bermuda Triangle in Space

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.


10X-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.

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