1Great Bottle hoax
In 1749, a stage show was advertised where a man would squeeze his body into a wine bottle. It was a bet between the Duke of Portland and the Earl of Chesterfield that they could advertise something impossible and get fools to pay for it. The sold-out theatre rioted when no performer showed up.
2. Lillian Brown, the makeup artist of nine US presidents, stopped Richard Nixon's sobbing before he was about to go on national television to announce his resignation by telling him a funny story so that his makeup wouldn't be ruined.
3. Prince’s “Breakfast Can Wait” album cover features Dave Chappelle impersonating Prince. Chappelle said he had to appreciate the way his joke was co-opted. "That's a Prince judo move right there.”
4. Elvis’ autopsy revealed morphine, Demerol, chlorpheniramine, Placidyl, Valium, codeine, Ethinamate, quaaludes; an unidentified barbiturate, Amytal, Nembutal, Carbrital, Sinutab, Elavil, and aventyl in his system.
5. In 1913, The Daily Mail suspected its competitor The Daily Standard was copying its news stories. The Daily Mail published a hoax article claiming the SS Waratah had been discovered in Antarctica. The Daily Standard also published the story and added a statement from the harbourmaster.
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6Electric Worm Getter
There was a product sold in the '80s and '90s called the "Electric Worm Getter". It was sold to fishermen for the collection of earthworms for bait. It sent an electric shock through the top layer of soil forcing the worms to surface. It had to be recalled in 1993 after 30 people died using it.
7. Socrates suggested a passive solar design for Greek houses. All openings faced south and roofs were angled north. Houses remained cool during summer since the roof provided shade, and there was warmth during winters since the roof deflected cold north winds and sunlight entered through the south openings.
8. During the Black Death, the physician to the Papacy recognized that bloodletting was ineffective, but he continued to prescribe bleeding for members of the Roman Curia, whom he disliked. He also claimed that all true cases of plague were caused by astrological factors, and were incurable.
9. The cottage where Ulysses Grant finished his memoirs is now a historic monument and is kept how it was when he died. On his desk is a large bottle of liquid cocaine. Park rangers check it annually to make sure it is all there.
10. Legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant earned his nickname by agreeing to wrestle a bear for $1 at a carnival when he was 13 years old. The bear bit his ear, and the carnival never paid him $1.
11Peat bog soldiers
Inmates of a nazi labor camp in northern Germany's marshes were banned from singing political songs, so they wrote a "soldier" hymn to themselves being "peat bog soldiers". When the SS made them perform it at the "concentration camp circus" the anti-nazi song was so catchy, the SS sang along.
12. A book named “death by starvation” was written by Hegesias of Cyrene, a philosopher who believed that life was futile and advocated for suicide. The book became was so influential that it convinced a number of people to kill themselves. Subsequently, Hegesias was banned from teaching in Alexandria.
13. Robert Millikan disliked Einstein's theory that light consisted of particles (photons) and carefully designed experiments to disprove them, but ended up confirming the particle nature of light, and earned a Nobel Prize for that.
14. In a book named ‘Revolt’ (bunt), farm animals revolt and take over their farm in order to introduce equality, with things quickly denigrating into abuse and terror. The story was meant as a metaphor for the Bolshevik Revolution and was published 21 years before George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
15. US Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin wanted the US to ratify the UN Genocide Convention. He gave a speech on the need to ratify it each day the Senate was in session from 1967-1986 (a total of 3,211 times) until the US Senate finally ratified it on Feb. 11th, 1986 in an 83-11 vote.
NASA uses Taco Bell tortillas for space missions. Bread has too many crumbs so they use tortillas for sandwiches, and NASA started making space tortillas. Taco Bell made a tortilla in the 90s with a 9-month shelf life, so NASA started using those instead.
17. Reindeer and Caribou are the same animals. In Europe, they are called reindeer. In North America, the animals are called caribou if they are wild and reindeer if they are domesticated.
18. Dogs would often dig up bodies and tombs in ancient Egypt, which was a problem because the dead and their belongings were sacred. So, the Egyptians gave the god Anubis a canine head and made him "protector of the dead."
19. The title of the Radiohead album "OK Computer" comes from a line in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "OK, computer, I want full manual control now." The song "Paranoid Android" refers to "Hitchhiker" character Marvin, the Paranoid Android.
20. Maus is the only graphic novel, as of 2020, to win the Pulitzer Prize.
21Battle of Adwa
The Battle of Adwa in 1896 saw Ethiopia win a decisive victory against Italy, securing Ethiopia's independence for another 40 years. In that period Ethiopia was hailed as the only surviving African state to defeat a European colonial power in an open battle.
22. Queen Elizabeth's grandfather, King George V, was euthanized by his physician. The physician wrote in his journal that he euthanized the King so that his death would be announced in the morning newspapers, rather than the "less appropriate evening journals."
23. Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson were largely considered to play James Bond in the movie "Goldeneye". Neeson turned it down because he wasn't interested in action films at the time and Gibson was too busy with his project "Braveheart" despite being recommended by Sean Connery.
24. The novel ‘Finnegans Wake’ by James Joyce is so incomprehensible that no two plot summaries made have ever agreed with each other. Some have even said any attempt to work out the plot is impossible and a waste of time.
25. In Bugatti's world record video of the Chiron going from 0-400kmph-0, the one-shot scene of the car accelerating was achieved by simply using another Bugatti Chiron as the camera car because nothing else on set was fast enough to record the shot.