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19 Strange AF Wikipedia Pages That'll Change How You See The World

The colour of the universe is "Cosmic Latte".

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1. List of inventors killed by their own inventions

Public Domain / commons.wikimedia.org / Via en.wikipedia.org

This list is seriously compelling for anyone with an interest in morbid facts. You'll learn the tragic story of Franz Reichelt, a tailor who fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, "the coat parachute".

Or that James "Jimi" Heselden (1948–2010), who owned the Segway production company, sadly died when he accidentally drove his Segway off a cliff.

2. Cosmic Latte – the colour of the universe

en.wikipedia.org

The light from over 200,000 galaxies was analysed by a team of astronomers from Johns Hopkins University. They concluded that the average colour of light emitted by stars in the universe was a pale cream colour. The Washington Post ran a story on the discovery, and invited readers to suggest names. "Cosmic latte" won the vote of the scientists, ahead of "skyvory", "univeige", and "big bang buff".

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3. Sedlec Ossuary

This small but deeply creepy spot is close to the Czech capital of Prague. Be prepared, because this chapel is all about bones! The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, which have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings.

An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the ceiling – surrounded by a skull frame.

The chapel was refurbished like this in 1870 by František Rint, a woodcarver, under the direction of the chapel's owners, the Schwarzenberg family. In the pictures above, you can see a House of Schwarzenberg coat of arms – made entirely out of bones, of course – and the signature of František Rint on a wall.

4. List of unexplained sounds

en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org

Upsweep, Train, Julia, Slowdown, Bloop – the names of unexplained sounds are enough to send your imagination into overdrive. This amazing Wikipedia page lists six unexplained sounds around the world, including graphs of their soundwaves and recordings.

Bloop, for instance, was an ultra-low-frequency sound recorded in 1997. It was similar to a noise emitted by an animal, but much louder than the loudest recorded animal on earth, the blue whale. Some scientists suggest it might have been an ice quake, but nobody knows for sure.

Upsweep has been heard on hydrophones since 1991. It consists of upsweeping sounds, that appear seasonally, peaking in spring and autumn. It is gradually getting fainter, but can still be heard. No one has been able to identify the source.

5. Timeline of the far future

CC BY-SA / creativecommons.org / Via en.wikipedia.org

This Wikipedia article is about the future of our planet as postulated by science. For example: In 10,000 years sea levels will have risen 3 to 4 meters. Or take Niagara Falls – 50,000 years from now, due to erosion, the remaining 20 miles to Lake Erie will have been undermined. There won’t be any more falls.

And 250 million years from now? All the continents on Earth may fuse into a supercontinent that could be called "Amasia”, "Novopangaea”, or "Pangaea Ultima”.

6. Petrichor – the smell of rain

en.wikipedia.org

You know that smell – the smell you get on a hot day, when it rains suddenly. It's kind of dusty and dirty, but really, really nice. Well that smell has a name, and you're not the only one who's obsessed with it. It was named "petrichor" by two scientists in 1964 – the name comes from the Greek words for stone, petra, and for the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods, ichor.

The scientists, Isabel Joy Bear and Richard G Thomas, discovered that the smell comes from a particular oil secreted by plants during a dry period that inhibits seed germination and plant growth. The oil runs into surrounding stone and soil, and when it rains, the oil is released into the air.

7. 52-hertz whale

MacGillivray Freeman Films

Known as "the world's loneliest whale", the 52-hertz whale is a mysterious large cetacean who has never been seen, but who is identified by its strange call. Its voice is a much higher frequency (52 Hz) than whales with similar call patterns like blue whales (10-39 Hz) and fin whales (20 Hz). It has been heard since the late 1980s, swimming up and down in the Pacific Ocean between the Kodiak Islands and California.

Scientists have been unable to identify the species. They have guessed that it might be a hybrid of two different whales or the result of a genetic mutation, or that it might possibly be deaf.

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8. Cologne sewerage system: Chandelier Hall

CC BY-SA 3.0view / creativecommons.org / Via en.wikipedia.org

This is just fancy! You will find this elegant hall in the sewerage system of Cologne, Germany. The room is called the "Chandelier Hall” and was opened in 1890 to impress Prussian Emperor Wilhelm II, though sadly he never even attended the opening ceremony.

9. Paris syndrome

en.wikipedia.org

Paris syndrome is a phenomenon noted by psychologists where tourists visiting Paris go into extreme shock when they realise the city isn't quite as good as they imagined.

Symptoms include dizziness, sweating, increased heart rate, hallucinations, and an intense feeling of paranoia – as if everyone in the city is out to get you.

10. Stendhal syndrome

en.wikipedia.org

This is similar to Paris syndrome, but Stendhal syndrome – named after the French author Stendhal (above) – is a major psychological reaction to seeing something very beautiful.

Visitors to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence seem especially susceptible to heart palpitations, dizziness, and even fainting, after they come face-to-face at last with great paintings they have loved all their lives.

11. Bat bombs

giphy.com

These crazy types of bombs really existed – at least they were an experimental weapon developed by the United States to attack Japan in World War II.

Hundreds of bats would be put inside each bomb-shaped case. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the case would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats, each of which would have a small incendiary charge attached. The bats would then fly into houses and their tiny bombs would explode, starting fires across the wooden Japanese cities.

But for some reason (???) after an investment of about $2 million the plans for the bat bombs were shelved in 1944.

12. List of poisonous plants

en.wikipedia.org

For anyone with a morbid curiosity, this page is gripping reading. Learn about the most horrendous ways a human can die: Seeds from the strychnine tree will throw your body into horrific muscle convulsions, before death three hours later.

The seeds of the castor oil plant (above) will trigger a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea, followed by severe dehydration, a drop in blood pressure, and death within 3–5 days.

Laburnum poisoning can cause intense sleepiness, vomiting, excitement, staggering, convulsive movements, slight frothing at the mouth, unequally dilated pupils, coma, and death.

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13. Colonia Dignidad

Claudio Reyes / AFP / Getty Images

The Colonia Dignidad (Dignity Colony) was a spiritual camp founded by a German Christian sect in Chile in 1956. The Colonia was surrounded by barbed-wire fences, featured a watchtower and searchlights, and was later reported to contain secret weapon caches.

One of the founders was Paul Schäfer. Over years he tortured and molested his followers, and some were even killed. In the '00s Schäfer, who was on the run from the police, was caught and brought to court. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail, but died 2010 at the age of 88.

The Colonia was closed in 1991 and renamed. Today the camp is called Villa Baviiera (Bavarian Village) and you can actually visit the place. It has a hotel and a restaurant offering German food and beer. And even after all this time and the crimes that took place, some people who were raised in the Colonia Dignidad are living and working there.

14. 555 (telephone number)

20th Century Fox

If you've been paying attention while watching films you might've noticed that every single fictional phone number begins with the same three numbers, 555. In the US, the only real phone numbers that begin 555 are for directory assistance. The rest are reserved for fictional use.

Filmmakers have used 555 since the 1960s, to avoid a situation like the one that happened after the release of Bruce Almighty, in which God's number was listed as starting 777, and some poor person received a load of calls from people hoping to speak to their creator.

15. Prometheus – the oldest known nonclonal organism on Planet Earth

Gemeinfrei / Via de.wikipedia.org

Prometheus was the name of a tree in Nevada, US, that was was at least 4,862 years old – and maybe more than 5,000. It had been the oldest known nonclonal organism on Planet Earth – meaning it was the original specimen, and not a genetically identical cutting of another plant.

In 1964 the Great Basin bristlecone pine tree was cut down by a graduate student and United States Forest Service personnel for research purposes.

Fun fact: Until the moment the tree was felled, no one knew how old it was, which was why they cut it down. When they discovered its age, the felling was considered extremely controversial.

16. Pripyat

Holy shit! Pripyat is a ghost town in northern Ukraine near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Almost 50,000 people lived in the city before it was evacuated on 27 April 1986 – one day after the Chernobyl disaster. During that time, most of the inhabitants worked in the power station, which is just 4 kilometres away.

Today it is possible, but probably not that healthy due to the high radioactivity level, to visit Pripyat.

17. Trypophobia

GNU Free Documentation License / Via en.wikipedia.org

If you are afraid of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps, you probably have trypophobia.

In 2013, neuroscientists wrote in Psychological Science that the reaction is "based on a brain response that associates the shapes with danger. Shapes that elicit a reaction were said to include clustered holes in innocuous contexts such as fruit and bubbles, and in contexts associated with danger, such as holes made by insects and holes in wounds and diseased tissue such as those caused by mangoworms in animals, especially dogs.”

So if your skin is now crawling, just scroll to the next one…

18. List of common misconceptions

commons.wikimedia.org

This epic Wikipedia page corrects a huge number of "facts" that lots of people believe, but are in fact utter bollocks. For example, did you know that Napoleon Bonaparte wasn't actually short? He was 5'2" in French measurements, which is the equivalent of 5'7" in English measurements, an average height for a Frenchman at the time.

Or that the Great Wall of China is not in fact visible to astronauts in space, but that city lights at night are? Or that bulls are not triggered by the colour red? They are "dichromats", so red doesn't stand out to them, and the reason they charge is purely because they are threatened by the matador running at them.

19. Pangea

CC BY-SA / creativecommons.org / Via en.wikipedia.org, youtube.com

Pangea was the last global supercontinent. It existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. Through the shifting of tectonic plates the supercontinent began over millions of years to break up into smaller continents as we know them today.

Pangea did not separate all at once, but at different times. On this cool Wikipedia page, you can see how our world fits back together like one enormous jigsaw puzzle.

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