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    86 Facts I Learned In June That I'll Never Forget As Long As I Live

    Al Capone's relationship with milk, the worst year to be alive, the deadliest island on Earth, and much more.

    Before you continue reading, I want you to know that this post *might* contain a bunch of facts you've already read.

    Some context: I write a weekly series, published on Saturday mornings, where I round up a bunch of cool facts I learned that week. Then, at the end of every month, I take everything I learned and put it all into one convenient place for your reading pleasure — and that's what you're reading now. Here's the one I wrote in May.

    The following facts are from:

    The Week of June 5

    The Week of June 12

    The Week of June 19

    The Week of June 26

    SO, without further ado, here are 86 Things I Learned In June™️:

    1. In the early 1800s, William Burke and his friend William Hare realized that Edinburgh University medical school would pay for cadavers, so they concocted a sinister plan to make money.

    A skeleton of William Burke in a glass case
    David Cheskin - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

    Hare, a landlord, would rent to Edinburgh's poor community; Burke would then get the tenant drunk, wait for them to pass out, and then suffocate them by sitting on their chest and covering their nose and mouth. This killing method — which would come to be called "burking" — typically wouldn't leave any markings or signs of struggle, making the corpse easier to sell.

    Burke and Hare are believe to have killed, at minimum, 16 people, though the body count is likely far higher. When the pair were finally caught, Hare was offered immunity to testify against Burke, who was ultimately found guilty and hanged. His body — much like the bodies of his victims — was donated to science. Rumor has it the anatomy students who dissected him kept parts of his corpse, and even used his flesh to bind their books. The photo above depicts William Burke's actual skeleton, which is on display at the Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh.

    2. This is Frederick Fleet. He was the lookout for the Titanic on the night it sank and the first to spot the iceberg in its path, which he described as "a black object, high above the water, right ahead."

    A young Frederick Fleet in a newsboy cap
    Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    According to him, his first attempts to report the sighting went unanswered. By the time his messages were finally received, a mere *minute* before striking the iceberg, it was too late. That night, as he sat in a lifeboat and watched the ship sink, he allegedly expressed concern that he would be blamed — and his fears were somewhat well-founded; an official inquiry would dispute the timeline of events he provided. Frederick Fleet would spend the rest of his remaining 53 years of life consumed by guilt.

    3. Amber fossils have offered us some of the most fascinating and unusual glimpses of everyday, prehistoric life. From a feathered dinosaur tail with its soft tissue intact to a prehistoric tableau of a spider making a meal of a wasp, tree sap seemed to ensnare these animals at the most unexpected and inopportune moments. But perhaps no animal expected it less than this 99 million-year-old daddy longlegs with an erect penis — yes, you read that correctly. This cousin of today's daddy longlegs spider died, and was perfectly preserved, with a full erection:


    4. In 2012, a French beekeeper noticed that his bees were producing honey in the most unusual and unnatural colors. Other beekeepers in the area were experiencing a similar issue, so they banded together to investigate the cause. Eventually it was discovered that the local bees were visiting a nearby M&M's factory and feasting on discarded shells (hence the colors). This honey was ultimately deemed to be of a much lower quality than standard honey, and all of it was thrown out.

    Four jars of honey in four different colors
    Vincent Kessler / Reuters

    5. June 4 marked 32 years since the Chinese government in Beijing cracked down on peaceful, pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

    Tank man staring down a line of tanks as he block their path
    Archive Photos / Getty Images

    One powerful and enduring image in particular would come to represent the tragedy. It's simply called "Tank Man," and it depicts a lone man carrying nothing but shopping bags facing down a line of tanks. When the tanks attempted to drive around him, he side-stepped, refusing to let them pass. To this day, Tank Man has never been officially identified, though some unconfirmed reports claim it was 19-year-old student Wang Weilin. His fate is also unknown; some claim he was arrested and subsequently executed, while others believe — hope — that he made it out alive and managed to live a life of relative safety and anonymity.

    In the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests, the Chinese government announced a death toll of 200 civilians, but more recent estimates suggest that as many as 10,000 people were killed. Though Tank Man's bravery is known the world over, this image — along with any mention of what transpired there — is  heavily censored in China. 

    6. Though this story has never been officially confirmed as fact, that hasn't stopped it from spreading like wildfire — and despite its ubiquity, it's never been refuted either. Rumor has it that a few family members of Al Capone got sick after drinking expired milk in the 1930s, so the notorious gangster threw his immense influence behind a campaign to get expiration dates added to milk bottles. Capone may very well be the reason that all milk sold in the US today is dated.

    Al Capone's mug shot
    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    7. There's only a single documented case of a meteorite striking a person. It happened in 1954 to a woman named Ann Hodges. She was taking a nap one November afternoon when, suddenly, a 9-pound (4-kilogram) meteorite blasted through her ceiling. Fortunately, it first hit the radio before bouncing off and hitting her — a direct impact might've killed her — but it still left a very painful bruise:

    Ann Hodges lying in bed while her doctor displays the large bruise on her hip
    Jay Leviton / The LIFE Images

    8. There's a small aluminum plaque on the Moon that commemorates astronauts and cosmonauts who have died in the line of duty. It's called "The Fallen Astronaut," and it was placed there — along with the small figurine in front of it — in 1971 during the Apollo 15 mission.

    A small metal plaque stuck simply in moon dirt

    Here are the names listed on the plaque: 

    Charles A. Bassett II

    Pavel I. Belyayev

    Roger B. Chaffee

    Georgi Dobrovolsky

    Theodore C. Freeman

    Yuri A. Gagarin

    Edward G. Givens Jr.

    Virgil I. Grissom

    Vladimir Komarov

    Viktor Patsayev

    Elliot M. See Jr.

    Vladislav Volkov

    Edward H. White II

    Clifton C. Williams Jr.

    9. This is former Air Force engineer and NASA rocket scientist Lonnie Johnson. A self described "tinkerer," he helped send the Galileo and Cassini satellites to Jupiter, assisted in the development of the B-2 Stealth Bomber, designed the technology that became the basis for CDs and DVDs (which he didn't think to patent), and much, much more — oh, and he also invented one of the bestselling toys of all time: the Super Soaker. Here he is posing with the first prototype he ever created made of PVC tubes and a two-liter soda bottle:

    Lonnie Johnson holding the super soaker prototype
    Mike Mcgregor / Contour by Getty Images

    10. The wedge-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey found in Australia. The females, which are larger than the males, can weigh close to 12 pounds (5.3 kilograms) and have a 7.5-foot wingspan (2.3 meters). Though individually they go after mostly rabbits and other similarly sized prey, in groups they've been known to take down adult kangaroos. Wedge-tailed eagles are also highly territorial, and there have been documented cases of these raptors attacking small planes and helicopters that encroach on their nesting sites.

    A female wedge-tailed eagle perched in a tree
    Chameleonseye / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    11. While women have been wearing wedding rings for many millennia, a tradition that can be traced back to ancient Egypt, the same can't be said for men. In fact, the shift occurred very recently; it wasn't until World War II that wearing wedding rings became the norm for Western men.

    A man's hand with a wedding ring
    Le Club Symphonie / Getty Images/Cultura RF

    12. Did you know Edgar Allan Poe's death is still an unsolved mystery? Most believe he simply drank himself to death — and he very well might have — but it's worth considering the unusual circumstances of the famous writer's final week.

    Edgar Allan Poe posing for a photo
    Mpi / Getty Images

    Five days before he was found, Poe was supposed to be boarding a train for Philadelphia to edit another writer's collection of poems. From there he would head to New York, his home at the time, where he was to meet his aunt and ride with her to Richmond, Virginia, for his own wedding. He had a lot of important (and personal) business to attend to, and yet he wasn't seen or heard from until he was found in a gutter, delirious, disoriented, and wearing another man's clothes — Poe had never left Baltimore. His autopsy found that he had died of a swollen brain, and some theories suggest he was murdered.

    13. Researchers estimate that there used to be between 10 to 50 times more sharks swimming in Earth's oceans, and a far greater diversity of species as well. So what happened? Well, 19 million years ago there was a great extinction event that wiped most of them out — the most devastating extinction event since the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. What caused it is still a mystery.

    A shark swimming toward the camera
    Gerard Soury / Getty Images

    14. Scientists in China have set a new world record. Using a fusion reactor called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (pictured below) — or, more informally, the "artificial sun" — they managed to heat plasma to a temperature of 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (120 million degrees Celsius) for a sustained period of 101 seconds, and then to a whopping 288 million degrees Fahrenheit (160 million degrees Celsius) for 20 seconds. Their goal is to replicate the energy-generating conditions that occur inside stars, and in so doing they achieved a temperature that's over 10 times hotter than the core of our own Sun.

    A large metal reactor that almost looks like an enormous engine
    Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    15. This is the Hydnellum peckii, more commonly called the Bleeding Tooth Fungus — aka the Devil's Tooth. Despite its horrifying name (and appearance), this mushroom isn't toxic. It is, however, extremely bitter and therefore not pleasant to eat.

    A fungus on the forest floor covered in droplets of what looks like blood
    Julija Kumpinovica / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    16. Naked mole rats are really strange animals, and not just because of their appearance.

    A naked mole rat
    Globalp / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    For one, they live in really close-knit underground colonies that have very specific dialects — both for identifying other members of their own colony and for rooting out intruders who don't belong. Each colony's dialect is determined by their queen, around which all colony-life revolves. In an interview with Science News, one researcher compared it to "living in an oppressive regime." 

    Another bizarre fact about naked mole rats is that, according to recent studies, their mortality rate doesn't increase as they get older (like every other known mammal), which has left researchers wondering if they even age at all.

    17. This photo of Albert Einstein's office at Princeton was taken on the very same day he died. Everything is exactly as he left it:

    Equations written on a chalkboard that overlook a messy desk scattered with papers
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

    18. There's something oddly terrifying about underwater sinkholes, which are simply called "blue holes." It wasn't until recently that efforts were made to study them, given how dangerous they can be to explore. Blue holes, which are often shaped like an inverse hourglass and can therefore be much wider than their openings would lead you to believe, can run pretty deep. They're also home to all kinds of marine life.

    (c)andrew Hounslea / Getty Images, Ullstein Bild / ullstein bild via Getty Images

    19. Coconut crabs love to steal. In fact, they're such notorious thieves that they're also called "robber crabs." If something is shiny — or smelly — enough, and within reach, a coconut crab will just take it. One researcher reported an expensive thermal camera stolen that she had left out overnight to film Christmas Island wildlife, and she knows humans aren't the culprit. And at a family BBQ, a staggering 52 crabs showed up uninvited and went straight for the food.

    A massive coconut crab, which are presumably named for their resemblance to a bunch of coconuts, climbing a tree
    Kevin Schafer / Getty Images

    20. Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar was an 18th-century Persian emperor who united Iran and established the Qajar dynasty, which would rule until the early 20th century. He was known for his cruelty and his violent determination to remain in power, which is partly why the lapse of judgment that led to his death was so unusual. After two servants got into a noisy argument with one another, Shah Agha Mohammad sentenced them both to death, but since it was the Sabbath he postponed the execution until the following day. Instead of locking them up, he put them back to work; and instead of going back to work, they murdered the Shah in his sleep.

    A mosaic of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar
    Heritage Images / Getty Images

    21. The substance pictured below is called "star jelly," which got its name because it was once believed to have fallen from the heavens, remnants of shooting stars and the like. In reality, it's far grosser than that. Star jelly is basically a mucus-y substance found in the ovaries of frogs and toads, and when birds eat these amphibians, sometimes they'll puke it up.

    A transluscent jelly sitting on a tree stump
    Matauw / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    22. The person who committed the 1982 Tylenol Murders is still at large.

    Bernard Bisson / Sygma via Getty Images

    In the fall of 1982, in Chicago, 12-year-old Mary Kellerman died a very sudden and unexpected death. So, too, did 27-year-old Adam Janus, along with his 25-year-old brother, Stanley, and his 19-year-old sister-in-law, Theresa. In the following days, more would follow: Paula Prince (35), Mary McFarland (35), and Mary Reiner (27). Every victim died from a lethal dose of potassium cyanide — they'd been poisoned — and the unifying thread that tied all of these murders together would set off a nationwide panic: Each had taken an Extra Strength Tylenol.

    In the following weeks, Johnson & Johnson would pull all of its Tylenol advertising and issue a sweeping product recall — aka "the recall that started them all" — and it would cost them over $100 million. This crime, however, wasn't committed on a national scale; it was local — at least that's what police believe. It was ultimately concluded that someone in the Chicago area had managed to discreetly place these contaminated bottles on the shelves of pharmacies and grocery stores. And almost 40 years later, that explanation is still only a theory; the case remains unsolved to this day.

    The Tylenol Murders are the reason why all over-the-counter medication comes with a tamper-proof foil seal, and why pull-apart pill capsules are no longer the industry standard.

    23. Before high school teacher Christa McAuliffe was selected, NASA had originally approached Big Bird about joining the disastrous 1986 mission in which the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, resulting in the tragic deaths of all seven crew members.

    Big Bird posing with his sesame street mailbox
    Sesame Workshop / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In 2015 Caroll Spinney, the man behind Big Bird, wrote an essay for the Guardian in which he shared the following story: 

    "I once got a letter from NASA, asking if I would be willing to join a mission to orbit the Earth as Big Bird, to encourage kids to get interested in space. There wasn’t enough room for the puppet in the end, and I was replaced by a teacher. In 1986, we took a break from filming to watch takeoff, and we all saw the ship blow apart. The six astronauts and teacher all died, and we just stood there crying."

    Shortly thereafter, NASA released a statement that essentially confirmed Spinney's claim: 

    "In 1984, NASA created the Space Flight Participant Program to select teachers, journalists, artists, and other people who could bring their unique perspective to the human spaceflight experience as a passenger on the space shuttle. A review of past documentation shows there were initial conversations with Sesame Street regarding their potential participation on a Challenger flight, but that plan was never approved."

    After the Challenger disaster, NASA would rethink many of its programs and initiatives, and they ultimately decided to scrap the Space Flight Participant Program.

    24. The first YouTube video ever was uploaded on April 23, 2005. It's called "Me at the zoo," and it's an 18-second-long video of YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim just sorta hanging out at the San Diego Zoo.

    A screenshot from the video of Jawed Karim posing in front of the elephant enclosure
    Jawed / Via

    Click here to watch the video.

    25. Enceladus, Saturn's sixth largest moon, is one of the likeliest places in our solar system to support alien life.

    The icy, pocked surface of Enceladus up close in HD

    This astounding photo, captured by the Cassini satellite, depicts Enceladus, the sixth largest of Saturn's 82 moons. How big is it? If plopped down on Earth, Enceladus would be small enough to fit within the borders of the United Kingdom.  

    Beneath its icy shell, which is estimated to be as much as 25 miles (40 kilometers) thick, lies a vast ocean — which itself is about 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep. Enceladus's abundance of water makes it one of the likeliest places in our solar system to find life. 

    One of the coolest things about this moon, so different from our own in so many ways, is its massive geysers. It's constantly spewing water and ice into orbit, which contribute to the formation of Saturn's iconic E-ring.

    26. You're not allowed to visit Ilha da Queimada Grande — aka Snake Island — because you'd probably die if you did.

    Leo Francini / Alamy Stock Photo, Google Maps

    This gorgeous island is located off the coast of São Paulo, Brazil — but looks can be deceiving; Ilha da Queimada Grande is said to be one of the deadliest islands on the planet due to its unusually high concentration of the most venomous snakes on Earth.

    Thousands of golden lancehead vipers — which, coincidentally, are critically endangered — call Ilha da Queimada Grande home, and they're said to be an especially aggressive population. According to locals, many who have stepped foot there were later found dead, covered in snake bites. Allegedly, a man and his family lived there briefly so he could run the lighthouse until, legend has it, dozens of determined snakes came in through his windows, killing everyone.

    27. Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche is the only Black passenger to die when the Titanic went down. Additionally, he and his two daughters, Simonne and Louise Laroche, were the only three Black passengers on the entire ship.

    The Laroche family posing for a portrait
    Zuri Swimmer / Alamy Stock Photo

    Born and raised in Haiti, Laroche moved to France at the age of 15 to study engineering. There, he would meet his wife, Juliette Marie Louise Lafargue, and have two children, Simonne and Louise. Joseph, who was unable to find work as an engineer in Paris due to racism and prejudice, decided to take his skillset back to Haiti, where he figured engineers must be sorely needed. These factors, coupled with the fact that Juliette was pregnant with their third child, are what led them to book second-class tickets on that doomed voyage to New York.

    In the early morning hours of April 15, after the Titanic had struck the iceberg and it was clear the ship was sinking, Joseph Laroche acted swiftly and decisively. In their room, he filled his coat pockets with money and jewels, after which he took his family to the ship's deck. Escorting them to an open life boat, Joseph took his jacket, wrapped it around Juliette, and told her, “Here, take this; you are going to need it. I’ll get another boat. God be with you. I’ll see you in New York” — these are the last words he spoke to his family.

    28. Here's a strange one: Some big cat species, like tigers and cheetahs, are apparently obsessed with Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men cologne.

    Fiona Hanson - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images, Picture Alliance / dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

    Experiments with a variety of different scents were conducted at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, and Obsession for Men was a definite favorite. The cats enjoyed sniffing it, drooling over it, rolling around in it, and just generally basking in the musk — Michelle Meyers, spokeswoman for the Carolina Tiger Rescue, told the AP, "The musky scents come from extracts in mammals, and that’s likely why the animals like them a lot."

    Different species have different preferences. Ocelots, for example, are said to prefer Axe Body Spray — no, I'm not kidding.

    29. Nikola Tesla predicted the invention of the smartphone in 1926.

    A young Nikola Tesla posing for the camera
    Roger Viollet / Roger Viollet via Getty Images

    In an interview for Collier's magazine in 1926, Nikola Tesla made a myriad of predictions about the future of technology and how it would revolutionize the world as we know it. Not all of his predictions turned out to be true, but one in particular did. Tesla described, in incredible detail, what is essentially the modern-day smartphone:

    "When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole Earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do [this] will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.

    We shall be able to witness and hear events—the inauguration of a president, the playing of a World Series game, the havoc of an earthquake, or the terror of a battle—just as though we were present."

    30. 536 is said to be the worst year in recorded human history.

    A hazy landscape
    Jhillphotography / Getty Images

    Think 2020 was bad? According to medieval historian Michael McCormick, the year 536 is believed to be "the worst year to be alive" on record. So devastating and far reaching were the effects of that year that it would cast Europe into an economic depression that it wouldn't fully recover from for more than a century.

    Early on in 536, there was a massive volcanic eruption in Iceland that sent so much ash into the atmosphere that the skies all across Europe and the Middle East, as well as much of Asia, were darkened for a staggering 18 months. So thoroughly was the sun blocked out that temperatures dropped — snowfall was recorded that summer in China — crops all across these continents died, and people began to starve to death.

    At the time, no one knew volcanic ash was the culprit, so in addition to contending with this catastrophe, there was an uncertainty about where this "mysterious fog" had come from, what caused it, and if it would ever go away.

    31. The Kola Superdeep Borehole, located in Murmansk, Russia, is the deepest hole ever dug by humans.

    A round cap securely bolted over the hole, surrounded by rubble and debris
    Rakot13 / Wikipedia Creative Commons

    In the 1970s, strictly for experimental purposes, the Soviets began to dig a hole. Their objective was simple: see how deep they can go before they can go no farther.

    They ended up making it 7.5 miles down (12.1 kilometers) — deeper, even, than the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, which is 6.8 miles (10.9 kilometers) beneath the surface of the Pacific. Apparently they had expected to go even deeper, but the 356-degree Fahrenheit temperature (180 degrees Celsius) wouldn't allow them to.

    The Soviet Union officially dissolved in December 1991, and they stopped drilling not long after that. Nowadays the site is abandoned, and the hole, pictured above, is sealed shut. If it looks small, that's because it is; the hole is only 9 inches wide (22.9 centimeters).

    32. This is Magawa the rat, and in 2020 he received a gold medal for his bravery and heroism.

    Magawa wearing a gold medal around his neck
    PDSA / Cover Images / ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Over the course of five years, Magawa — an African giant pouched rat — has located 71 active land mines in Cambodia, which he was trained to sniff out. Despite his valiant efforts, there are still an estimated 6 million undiscovered land mines in Southeast Asia, but every one counts.

    Magawa, now 7 years old, made the news recently because his handler, Malen, just announced his retirement, stating simply that she wants to "respect his needs." 

    Thank you for your service, Magawa.

    33. President Andrew Jackson stored so much cheese in the White House that it still stank long after he left office.

    Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images, Tim Ur / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    This might be one of the strangest (and grossest) US Presidential facts you've ever heard — at least I thought it was.

    The story goes that while President Andrew Jackson held office, a dairy farmer from New York gifted him a 1,400-pound (635-kilogram) wheel of cheese. Not only did Jackson graciously accept the gift, but he allowed it to open-air age in the White House Entrance Hall for *two years*.

    Then, in 1837, a going-away party was thrown to celebrate the conclusion of President Jackson's second term, and he decided the colossal wheel of cheese had to be a part of the festivities. Benjamin Perley Poore documented the cheesy free-for-all in his book Perley’s Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis. He wrote:

    "For hours did a crowd of men, women and boys hack at the cheese, many taking large hunks of it away with them. When they commenced, the cheese weighed one thousand four hundred pounds, and only a small piece was saved for the President’s use. The air was redolent with cheese, the carpet was slippery with cheese, and nothing else was talked about at Washington that day."

    It was left to Martin Van Buren, the president who succeeded Jackson, to eliminate the pungent, cheesy odor that lingered long afterward, which allegedly entailed taking the carpet out to air for "many days," getting rid of the curtains, and repainting the entire room.

    34. As ferocious as alligators are known to be, they actually coexist peacefully with manatees.

    D Williams Photography / Getty Images, Naluphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Manatees will even politely bump — or rudely nudge (however you'd prefer to look at it) — an alligator when they need to get by.

    35. This is the silk vest King Charles I was wearing in 1649 when he was beheaded.

    An intricately patterned top that resembles a long sleeved tunic covered in stains and markings
    Heritage Images / Heritage Images/Getty Images

    Knowing he would be executed before a crowd, he asked to wear something warm so that he wouldn't shiver and appear to be afraid — this is what he was dressed in. Despite appearances, it seems he was afraid; researchers believe those stains were left behind by either sweat or vomit (not blood).

    36. Lake Baikal, located in Siberia, is the largest, deepest, most ancient lake on Earth. It contains a whopping 20% of the entire planet's fresh water — oh, and strange things are rumored to have happened there.

    The shoreline and water of Lake Baikal with misty mountains in the distance
    Ralph White / Getty Images

    Lake Baikal is situated within a large, 25 million-year-old rift valley in the Earth's crust caused by two tectonic plates moving in opposite directions. There are also what's described as "magnetic anomalies" in and around the lake that would cause, say, a compass to spin aimlessly like something out of a sci-fi movie. 

    There have been several reported instances of boats setting out on Lake Baikal and never returning. One such incident occurred in 2011 to a boat called Yamaha, which inexplicably vanished. The men in charge of piloting the boat are said to have been experienced sailors, but it appears they were no match for the thick fog that descended on the lake that day and seemingly swallowed them whole.

    But that's where the verifiable facts end. The tricky thing when it comes to local legend is that the claims can be difficult to confirm, so please take all of the following information with a grain of salt.

    One such claim is that Jesus Christ personally visited the lake. Another is that Genghis Khan was born on one of the lake's many islands — specifically, Olkhon Island.

    Over the centuries, there have been countless "sightings" of an ancient lake monster lurking beneath the surface that resembles a "giant sturgeon." There are even 3,000-year-old petroglyphs etched into the cliffs that line the lake, some of which depict this mysterious creature.

    Additionally, there have been dozens of alleged UFO and strange "humanoid" sightings, along with reports of mysterious lights appearing both above the lake and beneath its surface. Lake Baikal has been called a "UFO hotspot," and in 2009 the Russian Navy declassified some UFO files that added a degree of legitimacy to these claims in the eyes of some believers. 

    37. This amazing animal is called a glaucus atlanticus, or more commonly a blue dragon, and it's probably the coolest looking slug you've ever seen.

    A blue dragon resembling an alien creature or something from a fantasy story
    S.rohrlach / Getty Images

    And here's how big they are:

    A blue dragon sitting in someone's hand, roughly the size of a penny
    S.rohrlach / Getty Images

    38. The blade of this dagger found in King Tut's tomb is made up of iron, nickel, and cobalt — this combination of metals is most commonly found inside meteorites, and researchers believed that's precisely what was used to forge it:

    An ancient dagger with a hilt and sheath made of gold
    B.O'Kane / Alamy Stock Photo

    39. Extremely rare white ravens have been spotted on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

    An extremely rare, all white raven
    Martin Smart / Alamy Stock Photo

    A local writer and photographer named Mike Yip told the Vancouver Sun that the birds are most likely leucistic as opposed to albino, which means they're only missing some of their pigment, whereas albinism is a total absence of pigment. 

    40. Julia Child was an intelligence officer for the OSS — the predecessor to the CIA — during World War II.

    Julia Child posing with a whisk and spoon
    New York Times Co. / Getty Images

    Before she taught America how to cook French cuisine and became one of the most beloved figures on television, Julia Child spent time working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which would later become today's CIA.

    Like many former intelligence officers, Child was notably tight-lipped about her OSS days. In 1981, however, the CIA decided to declassify some files pertaining to her service, and it was revealed that she helped develop shark repellent to help prevent downed pilots from being eaten alive.

    41. Ignaz Semmelweis was one of the earliest doctors to champion hand-washing as a means of preventing the spread of disease and infection, and for this he was ostracized and fired — and eventually he'd be committed to an asylum.

    A sketch of Ignaz Semmelweis washing his hands in a basin
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

    Dr. Semmelweis was working in a maternity ward in Vienna, Austria, where lots of patients were falling ill with "childbed fever" and dying. He wanted to know the cause, so he compared the practices of his own clinic to that of a midwives' clinic, which boasted a vastly lower mortality rate.  

    After some trial and error, it occurred to him that the midwives' clinic wasn't performing autopsies. He wondered if there was cross contamination happening between the corpses and the patients, so he ordered his staff to more thoroughly clean their hands and tools in a chlorinated lime solution. They listened – at least at first — and the change yielded positive results; fewer women were falling ill and dying. 

    At the time, in 1847, doctors didn't really know about germs. The connection between bacteria and disease wouldn't be made until a few decades later. So it was left to Dr. Semmelweis to convince his colleagues of his discovery without a full understanding of the root cause of the issue, and he failed. It certainly didn't help that, when challenged, he would become very angry and resort to throwing around insults, which ultimately lost him his job — the newly adopted hygienic practices he had implemented were soon dropped.

    Ignaz Semmelweis wouldn't be committed to an asylum until nearly two decades after this episode, so it would be a stretch to assume it was because he advocated for hand-washing (as is popularly told). Some theories suggest he might've had a bad case of syphilis that spread to his brain, an infection that would ultimately kill him while he was institutionalized. Others believe he might've had Alzheimer's and that he was beaten to death by the asylum's staff — a sad end for a man who only wanted to save lives.

    42. This new species of glass frog that was discovered in Costa Rica in 2015 resembles Kermit the Frog:


    The species is called "Diane's Bare-hearted glass frog" — Brian Kubicki, who discovered the frog, named the species for his mother, Janet Diane Kubicki.

    43. This is the structure — aka the "sarcophagus" — that was built to contain Chernobyl's highly radioactive reactor 4. Despite the (limited) protection it provides, the surrounding area won't be habitable for an estimated 20,000 years.

    A large dome-like structure looming large in a semi-industrial and semi-residential landscape
    Oleksii Hlembotskyi / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    44. Garfield phones have been washing up on the beaches of Brittany, France, since the 1980s. The source of these phones has long been a mystery until, in 2019, a lost shipping container was located tucked inside a sea cave — the very same shipping container that was carrying the phones three decades earlier. The sad news is that the container was empty, which means every phone has been washed out to sea.

    A phone shaped like Garfield the cat sitting in the tides and sea foam on a beach
    Fred Tanneau / AFP via Getty Images

    45. More than 300 people have died trying to climb Mount Everest since it became popularized almost exactly a century ago, and a large portion of those bodies remain on the mountain.

    Mount Everest from a distance
    Sarah Lai / AFP via Getty Images

    It's believed that more than 100 bodies are still on Mount Everest — in fact, as global warming causes the ice to melt, more and more are being discovered all the time, and some of the corpses are very well preserved despite being decades old. In the majority of cases, it's either too expensive or too dangerous (or both) to remove the bodies. Some retrieval expeditions have even resulted in additional deaths.  

    46. On October 24, 1926, 52-year-old Harry Houdini was rushed to the hospital after complaining about stomach pains. He died a week later on Halloween. The official cause of death would be attributed to appendicitis and peritonitis — but some, including his grandnephew, believe he was murdered by mystics and spiritualists.

    An older looking Harry Houdini posing with chains on his wrists
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

    The story of Harry Houdini's death — or at least some version of it — is nearly as famous as the man himself. One popular (though not entirely accurate) telling is that Houdini, who would challenge people to punch him in the stomach to show off his pain tolerance and durability, was asleep backstage when someone decided to take him up on that challenge when he least expected it. 

    The truth is that Houdini was awake for the punches that are believed to have killed him, though he was sitting down because he'd broken his ankle. The challenger, a Montreal college student, delivered not one but five successive hits to his gut. He began to experience stomach pains that night — seems pretty cut and dry, right? It was a stunt gone wrong, an accident. Who would want to murder Harry Houdini? (The answer: Apparently a lot of people.)

    Houdini had plenty of enemies. He was a vocal critic of psychics, mediums, and clairvoyants, and he threw his fame and influence behind efforts to expose them as frauds and liars. These efforts included (but weren't limited to) learning their tricks and performing them himself, and also backing a bill that would regulate the profession — he even testified before Congress in support of said bill. Harry Houdini despised self-proclaimed psychics, and the feeling was mutual.

    As far as evidence of murder goes, there isn't any. Though in 2008, Houdini's grandnephew George Hardeen attempted to have his body exhumed in an effort to find that evidence. According to his attorney, "There was a motive to murder Harry Houdini, and it was suppressed and covered up" — the attempt was unsuccessful; no exhumation took place.

    47. George W. Bush was head cheerleader during his senior year in high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

    George W. Bush in his yearbook posing with other cheerleaders
    Brooks Kraft / Sygma via Getty Images

    48. It takes 248 Earth-years for Pluto to complete a single orbit around the Sun, which means not even half a Plutonian year has passed since it was discovered in 1930.

    A close-up of Pluto

    49. During a 1986 exploration of the Titanic wreckage, these dishes were spotted sitting on the ocean floor in this eerily organized arrangement:

    A dimly lit shot of stacks of dishes on the ocean floor
    - / AFP via Getty Images

    50. Some of those dishes were recovered and put on display at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in 2010. Here are those same dishes looking almost brand new:

    Sparkling dishes arranged for viewing in a musuem
    REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

    51. An Egyptian vulture was just spotted in the UK for the first time since 1868, and before that it was last spotted in 1825 — the only two documented sightings of this bird in the region until this year.

    An Egyptian vutlure
    Gerard Sioen / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

    52. At the young age of 24, Poon Lim would find himself stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, alone, for *133 days*. Against all odds, and with limited seafaring experience, he would somehow manage to survive the ordeal. Poon Lim holds the Guinness World Record for most days stranded at sea on a raft.

    Poon Lim posing for a photo on his trip to London

    In 1942, at the height of the second World War, Poon Lim was traveling aboard a merchant ship called the SS Ben Lomond when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. He would be the sole survivor of the attack, and since he was a novice seaman (Poon didn't even know how to swim), his outlook seemed grim at best. 

    For the next 133 days, Poon used every tool at his disposal and used them well. He pulled nails out of his raft to fashion fish hooks and extracted thread from a gunny-sack for fishing line; he collected rainwater using a small tarp and parts of his life jacket; and he used the lid of a small tin can as his only knife (there were some limited provisions on the raft when he found it). He also became proficient at pouncing on birds that would land on his raft, and when he caught a small fish he'd use it as bait instead of eating it — a strategy that at one point would help him catch a shark. 

    Poon was eventually rescued by a team of Brazilian fishermen. According to a 1943 New York Times story, he spent 45 days in the hospital following his rescue, but overall his condition was "not so bad" — in fact, he was in remarkably good shape, and his apparent penchant for survival made him a bit of a celebrity.  

    Later that year, Poon would travel to London where King George VI awarded him  the British Empire Medal. After doing a bit more traveling and sharing his story with captivated audiences around the world, he would settle in Brooklyn, New York, where he would live out the rest of his life until he died in 1991.

    53. "Steady" Ed Headrick, who perfected the design of the frisbee and invented the game of frisbee golf, requested that, after his death, his ashes be used to make a set of limited-edition frisbees — and, just after he died in 2002, his wish was granted. Some of the frisbees were distributed to family and friends, while others were sold to help fund the Headrick Memorial Museum.

    Ed Headrick posing with his dogs

    54. No, this isn't a photo of Mars — it's Death Valley National Park in California. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. It was 134°F (57°C) that day, and just this week that record came close to being broken: Temperatures hit 128°F (53°C).

    Dry, cracked desert ground
    David Bailey / Getty Images

    55. The origin of the word "dashboard" — now a commonplace term for the panels in front of drivers and pilots, and more recently for a navigational interface for data management tools and computer programs — comes from a forward-facing piece of wood or leather that would serve as a barrier for when the horses' hooves would dash mud up at the driver and/or the occupants of a carriage or buggy.

    A carriage with the dashboard pointed out

    56. There's a very remote area in the Pacific Ocean called the "oceanic pole of inaccessibility" — more commonly called "Point Nemo" — and it's the farthest you can get from land in any direction. If you ever find yourself at Point Nemo, the next closest humans might be right above your head on the International Space Station.

    A vast oceanscape with no land in sight
    Malorny / Getty Images

    57. Every Froot Loop is the same flavor.

    A pile of Froot Loops
    Miguel Bandala / Getty Images/EyeEm

    58. The largest star ever measured is a red hypergiant called VY Canis Majoris. Over 600 million miles wide and more than 300,000 times brighter than our own sun, if it were plopped down in the middle of our solar system, it would extend past Jupiter's orbit.

    An artist's rendering of VY Canis Majoris
    NASA, ESA, and R. Humphreys (University of Minnesota), and J. Olmsted (STScI)

    And here's a visual representation in case you're having trouble imagining that:

    A diagram depicting our solar system with a large line drawn between Jupiter and Mercury to illustrate the size of the star

    Still having trouble imagining how big that star is? Well here's what a sunset on Mars looks like:

    A small dot in the sky over Mars slinking behind a darkened landscape

    And here's what a "sunset" on Mars would look like if VY Canis Majoris were our sun — Mars would literally be inside of it.

    An up close shot of the surface of the sun

    59. So little is known about the mating habits — both the "how" and the "where" — of great white sharks that observing it has come to be considered the "Holy Grail" of marine biology and shark ecology. Only two eyewitness accounts of the act have ever been documented, one of which was reported just last year.

    A great white swimming
    Dave J Hogan

    Dick Ledgerwood, a now-retired New Zealand fisherman, witnessed the mysterious ritual back in 1997, and a marine biologist named Steve Crawford managed to track him down recently. Ledgerwood told the Guardian that he'd often spot great whites on his fishing expeditions, but that he'd never spotted anything like this.

    Encountering a pair of sharks in shallow water, he saw them “locked together,” belly to belly, and "just revolving round and round, very, very slowly.”

    60. Because eucalyptus leaves are loaded with toxins that only adult koalas can withstand, baby koalas have to eat their mothers' poop for a more...diluted eucalyptus diet.

    A baby and mama koala
    Himagine / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    61. There are many more trees on Earth (an estimated 3 trillion of them) than there are stars in the Milky Way Galaxy (somewhere between 100 and 400 billion of those).

    Fabien Astre / Getty Images, Natapong Supalertsophon / Getty Images

    62. Jacanas have really long, spider-like toes, which make it easier for them to walk on lily pads.

    Nick Brundle Photography / Getty Images, Edwin Remsberg / Getty Images

    63. This is what a lavender field looks like:

    Rolling fields of lavender
    Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket via Getty Images

    64. Pictured below is a life-sized replica of a Titanoboa, which was a prehistoric snake that was almost 40 feet long (12 meters) and more than 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms), making it far and away the largest snake that's ever lived (as far as we know).

    A Titanoboa replica in a muesum being arranged by a group of people
    The Washington Post / The Washington Post via Getty Images

    65. This weird guy is called a Proceratophrys boiei, or a Boie's frog, and when these frogs feel threatened, they're able to flatten themselves out on the rainforest floor to look even more like a leaf than they already do.

    A frog with what looks like horns above each eye looking very leaf-like
    agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

    66. The Zodiac Killer murdered at least five people in Northern California between 1968 and 1969 (he claims to have killed 37), and he continued to send letters and ciphers to San Francisco newspapers throughout the early 1970s. The case remains unsolved, and for over 50 years so, too, did three of his ciphers — that is, until this past December, when a team of amateur cryptologists solved one of them, which the FBI then confirmed. And very recently, a French engineer claims to have solved the final two, one of which allegedly reveals the killer's identity.

    Bettmann / Getty Images

    The first of the three cipers to be solved, known as the "340 Cipher," was cracked in December 2020 by a mathematician from Australia named Sam Blake, a code breaker/YouTuber from Virginia named David Oranchak, and a computer programmer from Belgium named Jarl Van Eycke. It reads:


    The Z32 Cipher and the Z13 Cipher (the latter of the two begins with the words, “My Name is __”) are the only two that haven't been officially solved. In fact, some consider these ciphers unsolvable because they're very short and therefore lack the available context needed to determine an encryption key — but Fayçal Ziraoui claims to have done it.

    These solutions haven't been officially confirmed, so take what they say with a grain of salt.

    Z32 allegedly reads, "LABOR DAY FIND 45.069 NORTH 58.719 WEST" — these are the magnetic coordinates of a location in South Lake Tahoe, a city that the Zodiac Killer has referenced in other letters.

    And Z13 is the big one. If solved, this cipher could end a more than 50-year mystery that has consumed the minds of law enforcement, amateur investigators, and even casual true crime fans. According to Ziraoui, that message reads, "My Name is KAYE" (It actually read, "My name is KAYR," which is believed to be a typo).

    If true, this would be a massive revelation. One of the primary suspects was a man named Lawrence Kaye, who just so happened to live in South Lake Tahoe. In fact, Detective Harvey Hines, who worked the case, was totally convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Kaye was the Zodiac Killer, but he never had enough evidence to make an arrest. Lawrence Kaye died in 2010.

    The validity of Ziraoui's solutions are still up for debate — some people close to the case have outright rejected them, while others (including some professional cryptologists) believe they should be seriously considered.

    67. Apparently, space has a very distinct and powerful odor. Of course, you can't just stick your nose out there and give it a whiff, but the unusual smell has a tendency to cling to an astronaut's suit after they've completed a space walk.

    An astronaut on a space walk
    Nasa / Getty Images

    Astronauts have struggled to pin down exactly what space smells like, calling it "hard to describe" and "different than anything else." Some have called the odor "metallic," like the fumes of a welding torch or soldering iron in use. One astronaut even likened it to a "seared steak." 

    68. Harriet Tubman, who was known by the code name "Moses" to those seeking passage on the Underground Railroad, was the first woman in American history to lead troops into battle. Her successful and daring raid on Combahee Ferry during the Civil War resulted in the liberation of some 700 slaves.

    A portrait of a young Harriet Tubman
    Universal History Archive / Getty Images

    Harriet Tubman is best known for her work with the Underground Railroad, through which she led 70 slaves to freedom, yet so many of her other achievements seem to be glossed over in the history books. Early in the Civil War, before shattering the glass ceiling in the US military, she also served as a Union spy — and a very effective one at that. Years spent navigating the forests and backroads in the slave-holding South made it easy for her to slip in and out of enemy territory undetected, and she managed to collect lots of intel that damaged Confederate positioning and strategy. 

    Years earlier, John Brown even attempted to recruit Tubman — along with Frederick Douglass — to assist in his botched raid on Harpers Ferry that he hoped would result in an armed slave revolt. By no means strangers to one another, Brown and Tubman — he referred to her simply as "General Tubman" — shared an intense mutual respect. She was, however, a shrewd and careful strategist, and she ultimately declined the request. Brown's raid was not expected to succeed, and historians believe Tubman had concerns that her participation would lead to the exposure and demise of the Underground Railroad.      

    In 2021, Harriet Tubman was finally recognized for her contributions as a spy and inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

    69. Scientists believe that the Moon was formed in the most terrifying way possible. The most widely accepted theory behind its formation is called the "giant-impact hypothesis," and it posits that an object the size of Mars once crashed directly into Earth, and huge chunks of both Earth and the object coalesced to form the Moon as we know it today.

    An illustration of the giant-impact theory
    NASA / JPL-Caltech

    70. A rooster once survived for 18 months after his head had been cut off. His name was Mike, and after being beheaded on his Colorado farm one day in 1945, he just sort of stood around — and he continued to stand around for the next year and a half.

    Brian Brainerd / Denver Post via Getty Images

    Mike the Headless Chicken, as he's affectionately called, was fed a liquid diet using a dropper — it was dripped directly into his exposed esophagus — and a syringe was used to clear his throat of any debris and mucus. Mike went on to become a minor celebrity (the photo above is a magazine spread he was featured in). He was even taken on a tour of the US.

    71. Major Walter Summerford was struck by lightning *three times* in his life — and if that's not unbelievable enough for you, his tombstone was struck by lightning after he died.

    Summerford's tombstone cracked from a lightning bolt

    72. Serial killer Rodney Alcala murdered seven women in the 1970s. In 1978, while his spree was active, he appeared as Bachelor Number One on an episode of The Dating Game and ended up getting picked to go on a date.

    Rodney Alcala grinning after being asked a question on The Dating Game
    ABC / Everett Collection

    Alcala reportedly told Bachelor Number Two backstage that “I always get my girl” — a statement that would prove to be false. While bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw did in fact select him over the other two bachelors, the date never took place. She ended up telling the producers, "I can’t go out with this guy. There’s weird vibes that are coming off of him. He’s very strange. I am not comfortable." 

    A year later, Alcala would be arrested and charged with murder.

    73. The average African elephant brain has 257 billion neurons — that's three times as many neurons as the average human brain.

    An elephant
    Manoj Shah / Getty Images

    74. Adolf Hitler and J. R. R. Tolkien fought on opposing sides in the Battle of the Somme — also called the Somme Offensive — which is one of the largest and deadliest conflicts of the first World War.

    An old photo of the trenches in Somme
    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    Other notable veterans of Somme include Otto Frank (Anne Frank's father), Harold Macmillan (future Prime Minister of the UK), and Ralph Vaughan Williams (famous composer). Close to a million soldiers died in combat during the Battle of the Somme alone. 

    75. The Ferris wheel was invented for the sole purpose of one-upping the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

    Hulton Archive / Getty Images, Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

    The Eiffel Tower was built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel to serve as both the entrance to and one of the primary attractions for the Exposition Universelle (the 1889 World's Fair) in Paris, France. At the time, it was the tallest tower in the world, and of the more than 32 million total fair attendees, almost 2 million people came just to see the Eiffel Tower. It was an unabashed success, and Paris was widely considered to have set the bar for World Fair greatness.

    When it came time for the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, an open competition was held for architects and designers to submit plans for a structure that would rival the Eiffel Tower — in fact, it became a great priority. America's pride was on the line, as was the city of Chicago's. The designs from a Pittsburgh engineer named George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. were selected, and thus the Ferris wheel was born.

    76. Moving at an approximate speed of 5 miles per second, it only takes the International Space Station 90 minutes to complete a single orbit of Earth.

    the ISS over Earth
    Nasa / Getty Images

    77. There used to be a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine (pictured below) in Seattle, Washington that would spit out a mystery can of soda for only 75 cents. Occasionally, you'd even get something that was discontinued years, sometimes decades, earlier. The strangest thing is that no one knows who stocked and maintained the machine — the whole thing is shrouded in mystery.

    The vintage Coca-Cola machine
    Kevin Schafer / Getty Images

    And if you're wondering why I wrote all of the above in the past tense, it's because the machine up and vanished in 2018. It sat there at 918 E. John St. on Capitol Hill for almost 30 years until one day it just wasn't there anymore. 

    78. Sperm whales sleep in a vertical position within groups of other sperm whales.

    A group of whales sleeping
    Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

    79. This 1,700-year-old wine is the oldest ever discovered that's still in liquid form. It was found inside an excavated grave in Speyer, Germany, and the reason it managed to survive for almost two millennia is because olive oil was poured into the bottle to seal the wine off from the open air.

    Really old wine that's not looking very drinkable
    dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo

    80. Richard Nixon had a backup speech prepared in case Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became stranded on the Moon with no means of escape.

    Buzz Aldrin just after planting a flag on the moon
    Nasa / AFP via Getty Images

    The speech reads:

    Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

    These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

    These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

    They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

    In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

    In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations.

    In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

    Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

    For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

    81. In 1966, the FIFA World Cup Trophy was stolen in London only a few short months before the tournament was set to begin. A ransom note demanding £15,000 was sent to police, causing a general panic to ensue — but it didn't last long. Pickles, a collie mix who was out for his evening walk, found the trophy hidden in a bush only a week after it went missing, making him a worldwide hero.

    Pickles the dog being held for a photo
    Keystone / Getty Images

    82. This is a zonkey — or what you get when you breed a zebra and a donkey:

    A zonkey
    Tiziana Fabi / AFP via Getty Images

    83. This is Jonathan the Tortoise, and he's believed to be the oldest land animal alive. He was born in 1832, making him 189 years old.

    Jonathan walking on grass
    Afp Contributor / AFP via Getty Images

    84. In 2016, archaeologists used a ground-penetrating radar to study the contents of Shakespeare's grave, and what they discovered shocked them: His head appears to be missing.

    Shakespeare's grave
    Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

    Even before this macabre discovery, there was an unconfirmed story that in 1794 — almost 200 years after the famed poet and playwright's death — a man named Dr. Frank Chambers, along with a group of thieves, broke into the grave, stole Shakespeare's head, and sold it for £300. We now have reason to believe this story might be true.

    85. During prohibition, pharmacists were allowed to fill prescriptions for "medicinal whiskey," which essentially gave them a legal monopoly on the outlawed substance.

    A group of men in a pharmacy pouring glasses of alcohol
    George Rinhart / Corbis via Getty Images

    Due to medicinal alcohol sales, running a pharmacy became an extremely lucrative enterprise during prohibition in the United States. In fact, in the Great Gatsby, we're briefly told that the source of Jay Gatsby's wealth was from "drugstores, a lot of drugstores" — turns out this was a subtle way of saying he was basically a legal bootlegger. To put it in a real-world context: In 1920, there were 20 Walgreens stores. In 1930, there were over 500. 

    86. Prior to the invention of the refrigerator, people had to find creative ways to keep their food fresh. In Russia, that took the form of dropping a Russian brown frog in your milk to make it last longer — turns out, they were onto something. Russian brown frogs secrete a gooey substance that has strong antibacterial properties.

    A Russian brown frog
    Olga Kulikova / Getty Images/iStockphoto

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