Random Revelations: Article #160 – 40 True and Wonderfully Strange Random Facts

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Zoroastrian funerals involve a ritual called sagdid (dog-sight). A dog was brought in before the body. If the dog stares steadily at the body, the person is still alive. If it doesn't look at the body, death is confirmed. This was useful in ensuring that a coma was not being mistaken for death.

2. The iconic music from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” was made in the 1960s by German composer Heinz Kiessling, who died in 2003, two years before the show premiered.

3. Josef 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.

4. William Goldman, the writer of 'The Princess Bride', wrote the screenplay for his two daughters, who were 7 and 4 at the time. He asked them what they wanted to be in the story, with one saying a princess and one being a bride. He told them "That'll be the title."

5. The Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley, filled their house with over 100 tons of random objects. Langley constructed a maze of tunnels, complete with deadly booby traps, to protect his brother, who never left his room. Langley was killed by his own traps, and Homer starved to death.

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6Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur auditioned to play the role of Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace.

7. Stan Lee was a World War 2 veteran. He was enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

8. Filmmaker Ralph Bakshi grew up in an all-black neighborhood in Washington, D.C. and got his mother's permission to attend the local segregated school with his friends. The school called the police and, afraid whites would riot if they learned that a white student was attending, expelled him.

9. In 2004, Ecuadorians synchronized their watches simultaneously to combat the chronic lateness that was costing their economy $2.5 billion per year.

10. Scientists debunked the “people look left when lying” myth by studying adults in press conferences appealing for information about missing family members. They tracked the eye movements of speakers who were later convicted of murdering the “missing” loved one.

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11Japanese inmates

Japanese inmates

Japan does not inform inmates of their execution date, instead of notifying them about an hour before.

12. The highest point from the Earth's center is not Mount Everest, but Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, due to the Earth not being a perfect sphere.

13. The world record for most perfect games of Wii Sports Bowling played is held by an 85-year-old named John Bates. He played 20,000 games perfectly over a period of 7 years.

14. The actors (James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair) who played the king and queen in the movie Coming to America also played the king and queen in The Lion King.

15. A firefighter named Edward Pulaski in 1910 saved the lives of most of his forty-five man crew by leading them into an abandoned mine shaft when they were surrounded by a wildfire, and then personally stopping the fire from following them despite being badly burned. 

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16Sobe beverages

Sobe beverages

In 2015, Sobe beverages in the US apologized for a joke that backfired. Some customers started voicing their concern after finding "Help me, Trapped in SoBe factory" under the lids of some of their bottles. Turns out the cry for help was intentionally put there by the company as a marketing ploy.

17. A soldier in World War 2 named Vaclav Bozdech found a puppy (Antis) while on the run and planned to kill it so its barking would not alert the Germans. Unable to bring himself to do so, he took it with him, and the dog later helped find survivors of an air raid and saved Bozdech's life during the Cold War.

18. Patty Cannon was notorious for leading a gang that kidnapped free blacks and sold them back into slavery in what was known as the Reverse Underground Railroad. In 1829, she was arrested for murdering a slave owner and stealing his $15,000.

19. Because of their tendency to take the form of whatever container they are in, a study was conducted over whether cats should be classified as liquids or solids. It later won the Ig Noble Prize.

20. In 1926, due to the near eradication of predators, 50 million mice flooded into Taft, California - a 20,000 to one mouse-to-person ratio. There were so many mice, that the roadkill from mice on streets made roads too slick for cars to drive on.

21J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

In 1961, J.R.R. Tolkien was rejected by Nobel Prize committee because The Lord Of The Rings had 'not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.'

22. After the police chief in a small New Mexico city stepped down in 2012, the only certified member of the police department was a drug-sniffing dog named Nikka.

23. The hit movie Mrs. Doubtfire was originally written as a movie spin-off for the TV show Home Improvement. Tim Allen turned down the role of 2 characters and the idea was scrapped, re-written and handed over to Robin Williams.

24. The Silkie Chicken is a breed named for its atypically fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk and satin. The breed has several other unusual qualities, such as black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot, whereas most chickens only have four.

25. No one has ever summited K2 in winter, making it one of the greatest mountaineering firsts that is still up for grabs.

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