Harsh Reality: 35 Dark and Gritty Facts to Know

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1Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar’s daughter once asked for a unicorn and kind of she got one. Escobar arranged for a horn and wings to be stapled onto a horse. The cobbled-together ‘unicorn’ soon died from an infection.

2. In the mid 18th century women and children were found torn apart, dismembered, or decapitated in the quiet French province of Gevaudan. These were the first of nearly a hundred attacks perpetrated by a mysterious animal dubbed as the Beast of Gevaudan.

3. Albert Einstein cheated on his wife, belittled her scientific achievements, and refused to help out around the house and made her sign a contract in which she would agree to leave the room or stop talking if he told her to.

4. Cancerous cells are produced in our body every day but our immune system kills them. When our immune system can’t keep up with them is when it is a problem.

5. The entire student body of the University of Mississippi enlisted for the American Civil War. They suffered a 100% casualty rate.

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6Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin married his first cousin and had 10 children. 3 died as infants and 3 were infertile. He was the first to raise the question if incest may cause weaknesses in offspring after studying inbred plants in his garden.

7. Chinese scientist Tong Dizhou cloned the first fish in the 1960s, but the Maoist government forced him to abandon his research and become a janitor during the Cultural Revolution.

8. The US Navy shot down a civilian airliner (Iran Air Flight 655) en route to Dubai from Tehran in 1988, killing 290 people, in Iranian airspace and waters. The U.S. government never apologized or acknowledged any wrongdoing.

9. A woman named Alice Blunden was so knocked out after ingesting large amounts of poppy tea that a doctor pronounced her dead. She was quickly buried but exhumed when people could hear her voice from the grave. She was so close to death that she was once again accidentally buried alive.

10. Kissing a baby on the ear can make it go deaf because of a condition known as "cochlear ear-kiss injury."

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11Facial paralysis

Facial paralysis

In rare cases, popping a pimple in a particular area of the face, the so-called “danger triangle,” can lead to facial paralysis, brain infections/meningitis, and even death.

12. Joseph Stalin was highly suspicious of doctors and had many Kremlin doctors arrested and tortured. So few doctors were available that after Stalin suffered a stroke, one imprisoned doctor claimed he was mid-interrogation when his captors suddenly started asking for medical advice instead.

13. In 1300 B.C., when Egyptian king Menephta defeated the Libyans, he brought back with him six thousand penises he had chopped off from the opposing soldiers, to prove of his triumph.

14. Cat burning was a form of entertainment in France prior to the 1800s. In this form of entertainment, people would gather dozens of cats in a net and hoist them high into the air from a special bundle onto a bonfire causing death through the combustion, or effects of exposure to extreme heat.

15. The Ancient Romans used a mixture of mouse brains and sodium bicarbonate to make a dough-like substance that would be used as toothpaste.

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16Fox tossing

Fox tossing

Fox tossing was a favorite pastime of the 18th-century aristocrats. A couple would stand apart, with a length of cloth between them, and wait for a fox to be herded between them. At the right moment, they would pull the cloth tight, hurling the fox skyward. Whoever sent the fox highest, won.

17. There was a practice called posthumous execution where a dead body was mutilated as punishment. It was performed to show that even in death, one cannot escape justice. Vlad the Impaler was beheaded following his assassination, Rasputin was exhumed from the ground and burned with gasoline.

18. At least 20 million people died in the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1800s, led by a man who claimed to be the brother of Jesus, and who attempted to impose a theocracy based on his interpretation of Christianity.

19. The youngest known serial killer ever is Amardeep Sada who killed 3 young children at the age of 8, including his neighbor's baby whom he bludgeoned with a brick.

20. Nike's inspiration for their slogan "Just do it." came from a man who was about to get executed, and his final words to the firing squad was "let's do it!"

21Harrying of the North

Harrying of the North

The “Harrying of the North” was a series of campaigns by William the Conqueror in Northern England, in which farms were destroyed after rebels refused to fight him in open battle. It killed around 4.5% of England's population through starvation and is considered by some scholars to be genocide.

22. Mary Mallon also known as Typhoid Mary was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever. She worked as a cook and presumed to have infected 51 people, of whom three died. She refused to believe she carried the disease. Years after her first quarantine, she changed her name went back to being a cook. She spent the last 23 years of her life in forced isolation because of her refusal to stay out of kitchens.

23. Men living in the Amazon will urinate into their own hands when underwater in fear of the tiny Candiru fish. If it detects the scent of urine, it will swim upstream into the urethra to leach blood.

24. Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom in 1936, was a Nazi sympathizer and later argued that bombing England could bring peace by ending World War 2.

25. “The Four Pests Campaign” (also known as the Kill a Sparrow Campaign) at the beginning of Mao Zedong’s “The Great Leap Forward” was an effort to exterminate mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows. Without sparrows, locusts overpopulated and created a famine that killed 20-45 million Chinese.

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