Random Fact Sheet #257 – 30 Mind-Bending Facts That’ll Stun You

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1Black Bart

Black Bart

Pirate 'Black Bart' believed Irish people to be some of the worst people to have on your crew due to them being highly mutinous. As a result, many people who Bart tried to force into piracy would often fake an Irish accent so they could get out of it.

2. Father Byles was a priest aboard the Titanic who refused to board a lifeboat twice. Instead, he stayed behind to hear confessions and give absolution to the people left on the ship.

3. A French surgeon named René Leriche first started wearing blue scrubs during surgery in 1914 because he discovered it reduced eye strain for doctors working endless hours during World War 1. "Ciel Blue" became standard once the surgery was videotaped in the 1970s and white scrubs conflicted with the white lights.

4. There is a mushroom called “Chicken of the Woods.” It tastes like chicken to some but to others, it tastes like crab or lobster.

5. Ole Rømer was a Danish astronomer who demonstrated that light has a speed, invented a precursor to the Fahrenheit scale, and invented the mercury thermometer. He also ran the police force in Copenhagen and once fired all the officers because morale was low.

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6Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone was discovered during the Egyptian campaign by Napoleon Bonaparte's French forces in 1799. It became an essential key to the modern understanding of ancient Egyptian literature and civilization.

7. Archaeologists have found traces of burnt cannabis in the altar of an ancient Jewish shrine, first time it’s been identified in the Ancient Near East. Scientists believe there was sufficient THC to create a mind-altered state in those breathing the fumes.

8. Ancient Sumerian doctors had advanced surgical practices that involved washing their hands and the wounds with antiseptic mixes of honey, alcohol, and myrrh.

9. Safety experts now recommend driving with your hands at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel. The old 10 and 2 positions can break your hands or force your arms into your face if the airbag deploys.

10. The primordial pouch is a skin flap on the stomach area of some cat breeds which appears regardless of weight. It helps to store energy when a cat goes a long period in between meals, and to protect vital organs when involved in fights.

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Berliners love the "currywurst", a sausage topped with curry ketchup, so much, that there have been commemorative coins, novels, plays, and movies honoring its invention. By tradition, every candidate for mayor must be photographed in front of a currywurst stand.

12. The domesticated hamsters we now call pets are all descended from one “Adam and Eve” like pair captured in Aleppo, Syria in 1930.

13. Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan were professional acquaintances during the Voyager project in 1977. When Sagan returned a phone call from Druyan it turned into a date and they were engaged by the end of the call. They married in 1981 and were together until Sagan's death in December 1996.

14. Ginkgo biloba is the only member of its genus, which is the only genus in its family, which is the only family in its order, which is the only order in its subclass.

15. In Monsters Inc., when they point at the White Sock and shout “23-19!”, the 23rd and 19th letter of the alphabet are WS (the initials of White Sock).

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16Adolf Galland

Adolf Galland

Adolf Galland, one of the top-scoring German aces of World War 2, often flew missions in just his swimming trunks, smoking a cigar, and with a plane emblazoned with Mickey Mouse art. "I've always liked Mickey Mouse," he said when asked about the strange behavior.

17. In 1969, Dillibe Onyeama became the first black person to finish their studies at the prestigious Eton College in England. He wrote a book about racism at Eton and was subsequently banned from visiting the school. He finally received an apology for his treatment this 2020.

18. Hunter S. Thompson once tied Bill Murray to a chair and dumped him to the bottom of a swimming pool. The pair were attempting a series of Houdini-style escapes, and Thompson saved Murray just before he drowned.

19. In 2013, San Diego's City Attorney named Tom Tosdal prosecuted a man named Jeff Olson for writing anti-bank messages in washable chalk on a public sidewalk. He faced 13 counts of vandalism and thousands of dollars in restitution. The jury acquitted him of all charges.

20. Lord Voldemort’s costume had 7 shades of green for each of his 7 Horcruxes. Every time one was destroyed, his cloak lost shade and faded in color to give the impression he was “fading away.”

21Giles Corey

Giles Corey

An 81-year-old man called Giles Corey, accused of being a wizard in 1692, was the only man in American history to be subjected to death by pressing in an attempt to get him to submit to trial by jury. It is said that his response to the torture was to tell them to add 'more weight.'

22. Agatha Christie was a surfer. Agatha became skilled at body-boarding in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and in Hawaii, she learned to ride while standing on the board.

23. Working too much is an official cause of death in Japan. Called 'Karoshi' which literally means 'overwork death' it became a hot button issue the mid to late 1980s when several high-ranking businessmen who were still in their prime years suddenly died without any previous sign of illness.

24. Weird Al wanted to make a parody of “Live and Let Die” titled “Chicken Pot Pie”; but Paul McCartney refused because he is vegetarian, and couldn’t condone a song about eating meat.

25. In 1917, the US War Industries Board asked women to stop buying corsets to free up the production of metal. It liberated 28,000 tonnes of metal, enough to build two battleships.

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