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    81 Downright Unforgettable Facts I Learned In October 2022

    Millvina Dean was only 9 weeks old when the Titanic sunk in 1912, making her the youngest survivor of the tragedy. When the story about Dean's survival broke, she became a pint-sized celebrity. Although she made several public appearances related to the Titanic throughout her life, she refused to ever watch James Cameron's 1997 movie. Despite this, Cameron and Titanic stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio all contributed to a fund to cover Dean's healthcare near the end of her life.

    In my opinion, fun facts are one of life's simple pleasures. The feeling of learning something so jaw-dropping that you're sent on an internet rabbit hole of research is truly unparalleled.

    I love fun facts so much that I actually write a post full of the best facts I've learned each week! At the end of each month, I combine them all into one big mega-post for your reading pleasure.

    And if you'd like to read each individual post, they're linked here:

    October 7, 2022

    October 14, 2022

    October 24, 2022

    October 31, 2022

    So, without further ado, here are 81 incredibly interesting facts I learned in October 2022:

    1. In the years following the sinking of the Titanic, many people claimed that the Titanic had been marketed as being an unsinkable ship. Turns out, White Star Line had actually used phrasing like "as far as it is possible to do...designed to be unsinkable" when talking about their ships. Other headlines from the time period included words like "nearly" and "practically" when discussing the unsinkable claim. It was only after the ship had actually sunk that people latched onto the idea that the Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable, and they failed to use the company's actual phrasing when discussing the tragedy.

    2. While you're probably familiar with The Addams Family, you might not have known that the family actually first originated as a cartoon in the New Yorker in 1938. Over the next few decades, 58 cartoons featuring a series of anonymous creepy people appeared in the New Yorker, all drawn by Charles Addams, who had published over 1,000 cartoons in the magazine. In 1946, Addams and science fiction author Ray Bradbury met up to work on a book about the Elliots, a fictional family full of monsters. Bradbury was going to write the stories, and Addams was going to illustrate the book. The partnership between Addams and Bradbury didn't quite pan out, and Addams resumed drawing cartoons about the still-unnamed family for the New Yorker.

    Charles Addams

    In 1964, a TV executive came across a book of Addams's cartoons with an image featuring the family on the cover. The executive thought it would make an excellent live-action TV show. They decided to name the family after Addams and asked him to develop first names and personality traits for his characters. He worked closely with the writers to ensure that the show matched the tone he wanted. In 1964, The Addams Family premiered on ABC. While the show only lasted two seasons, it became a cult hit and inspired several future adaptations. While the show was running, the editor of the New Yorker banned cartoons about the family.

    3. Sometimes, there's truly nothing better than a crisp, crunchy Dorito. The name of the chip is derived from the Spanish word "doradito," which means "little bits of gold."

    4. This month marks 20 years since the Washington, DC metro area was terrorized by two men often known as the Beltway Snipers, who ultimately killed 10 people and critically injured three others over the course of three weeks. On October 2, 2002, a man was shot and killed in Wheaton, Maryland. By the end of the next day, five more people had been murdered in the same area. Evidence found at the crime scenes allowed authorities to connect all of the murders and launch an investigation, invoking both the Montgomery County Police Department and the FBI.

    Beltway sniper

    The murders happened at everyday places like gas stations and grocery stores. Soon, children were not allowed to go outside, Guardian Angel groups came in to pump gas for those who were scared, and people began to run through parking lots in zig-zag patterns to become less of a target for bullets. Authorities began to conduct car checks after rumors began to surface that the killer was traveling in either a dark Chevrolet or a white box truck. On October 4, a woman was wounded by a bullet in Spotsylvania, Virginia, which expanded the search to encompass Maryland; Washington, DC; and Virginia. As coverage ramped up, the killings became more spaced out. On October 7, a middle schooler was shot and injured outside of a school in Bowie, Maryland. A tarot card with a message reading "Call me God" written on it was found at the scene.

    "Don't pass, we'll pump your gas Guardian angel"

    Over the next two weeks, three more people were killed, and an additional person was wounded in Virginia. On October 17, a man called into the tip line and told authorities to investigate a recent shooting and robbery in Alabama for a possible connection. The next day, a clergyman received a phone call from a man who told him that he knew who the killer was. He also mentioned the shooting in Alabama and asked the clergyman to write down the phrase, "Dear Mr. Policeman — call me God. Do not release to the press." The clergyman went to the authorities.

    Authorities searching for evidence at a gas station

    A note with a similar message was found outside a steakhouse in Virginia on October 19. By October 20, authorities began to look into the killing in Alabama. A fingerprint from evidence found at that crime scene was linked to Lee Boyd Malvo, who lived in Tacoma, Washington. On October 22, a bus driver in Aspen Hill, Maryland was killed in what became the final killing. As police began to learn more about Malvo and the Alabama shooting, they linked him to John Muhammad, who had also been mentioned by a tip line caller. The two lived in a house in Tacoma together, and neighbors said they frequently shot targets in the backyard.

    A note from the snipers

    Authorities issued an alert for a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice that was registered to Muhammad. On October 24, police swarmed a rest stop along I-70 in Maryland, where Muhammad and Malvo were sleeping in the Caprice. They were arrested without a struggle. Police found they had cut a hole in the trunk of the car, allowing them to shoot undetected. Both Muhammad and Malvo, who was a minor, received life sentences in both Maryland and Virginia. In 2009, Muhammad was executed for his role. In September 2022, Malvo sought parole after a ruling that life sentences for minors were unconstitutional, but was denied.

    A lawyer holding a photo of the snipers' car

    5. As a young child, Bruno Mars performed as an Elvis impersonator. Mars got his start at just 4 years old. "I was impersonating Elvis Presley in my dad's rock 'n' roll 1950s revue in Waikiki," he told James Corden during a Carpool Karaoke segment. Mars even appeared in both a 1989 documentary called Viva Elvis that showcased impersonators from around the world and in the 1992 movie Honeymoon in Vegas starring Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker.

    Bruno Mars as Elvis

    6. If there's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on the menu, chances are I'm ordering it. The flavor actually didn't hit shelves until 1984, when a customer at a Ben & Jerry's store in Vermont suggested that they add chunks of cookie dough to their vanilla ice cream. The flavor was a hit, and by 1991, Ben & Jerry's was selling pints of cookie dough ice cream.

    Ben & Jerry's ice cream

    7. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is arguably one of the world's most popular songs — it's been estimated that around the globe, it plays on the radio about once an hour. Freddie Mercury, the band's frontman, actually had a piano as his bed's headboard and allegedly would wake up in the middle of the night to work on songs whenever inspiration struck. According to the BBC, this was how "Bohemian Rhapsody" was born.


    The song, which on the surface is about a man confessing a murder to his mother and his subsequent trial, has been the subject of debate about the true meaning. Some believe that the song is about Mercury coming to terms with being gay. In 2004, Queen's Greatest Hits album became the first rock album allowed in Iran, where it came with a leaflet explaining that the hero accidentally killed a man, then sold his soul to the devil, only to call to God before his death, thus freeing him.

    View this video on YouTube

    UMG / Via

    8. In Ukraine, there is an old marriage tradition where if a woman denies her suitor's proposal, he is sent home with a pumpkin so he doesn't leave empty-handed. So, what do pumpkins have to do with marriage? Many believed they were good for a man's virility. According to NPR, men used to propose only at night so the chances of being spotted with the pumpkin were slim.

    A child in a pumpkin patch

    9. If you've ever wondered why movies are often referred to as appearing on the silver screen, you're not alone. Turns out, the term originated in the 1920s, when filmmakers were looking for ways to increase the picture quality. They found that coating screens with metallic paint helped cut down on blurriness.

    10. Warren G. Harding has gone down in history as one of the worst presidents the United States has ever seen. Turns out, he also was embroiled in a passionate affair that his family tried to cover up after his death for fear of making his legacy appear even worse in the public eye. A series of letters exchanged between Harding and Carrie Fulton Phillips, who was allegedly his mistress for about 15 years in the 1910s and 1920s, surfaced in 1964 when Francis Russell, a historian, attempted to publish them. The Harding family promptly sued Russell. The Hardings eventually agreed that the letters would be sealed for 50 years and gave them to the Library of Congress.

    Warren G. Harding

    In 2014, the Library of Congress released 106 letters. Many of them were written on official Senate stationary and were shockingly explicit. In some of the letters, Harding referred to his penis as "Jerry," which was assumed to be a codename that would protect the politician in case the letters were intercepted. Phillips and Harding's affair spanned his terms as the lieutenant governor of Ohio and as a US senator. Once Harding won the Republican presidential nomination, the Republican National Committee was forced to pay off Phillips, who was threatening to release the letters to the public. Harding also allegedly gave Phillips a stipend of about $5,000 a year to keep her quiet.


    The affair had potential political repercussions. Phillips supported Germany in World War I and would frequently try to convince Harding to share her views. She sent him newspaper articles and was known for challenging Harding for his stance on issues while he was a senator. After Harding and Phillips split once he became president, they still saw each other privately. Some believed that Phillips was a spy. Other historians have claimed that Harding warned Phillips that authorities were focusing on her and her husband, although her family has denied these claims.

    Warren G. Harding and his wife

    11. At birth, baby pandas weigh about 100 grams, which is the same size as a stick of butter. In fact, panda cubs are 1/900 the size of their mothers and are unusually tiny compared to the birth size of other mammals relative to their mothers. Some theories for the size discrepancy have been attributed to hibernation because mothers aren't eating, or the lack of nutrition found in bamboo, but no adequate explanation has been found.

    Doctors holding baby pandas

    12. After the Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania in 1936, the state enacted a 10% tax on alcohol. All of the money from the tax was supposed to go toward helping those affected rebuild and recover from the flood. Turns out, Pennsylvanians have been paying that tax ever since. After the town was rebuilt, lawmakers marveled at how much extra money they were able to bring in. In 1935, they decided to make the alcohol tax permanent, and eventually raised it to 18%. It doesn't appear on receipts and is instead built into the price of liquor sold in the state, which can only be purchased at state-run liquor stores.

    Johnstown newspaper

    13. The button down and boxers look from the Tom Cruise movie Risky Business has long been a quick and easy Halloween staple. This year, I have a feeling that we'll be seeing yet another Tom Cruise-themed costume everywhere, given the popularity of Top Gun: Maverick. In order to pull off both costumes, nailing the sunglasses is key: You'll need Ray-Ban Wayfarers for Risky Business and Aviators for Top Gun. Turns out, both movies actually saved the sunglasses from being discontinued by Ray-Ban! It all started in the early 1980s, when both Aviators and Wayfarers were selling pretty poorly. The brand was considering discontinuing both styles so they could focus on trendier looks.

    When Risky Business was released in 1983, the movie's success spawned a resurgence in the Wayfarer style, selling over 360,000 pairs compared to about 18,000 in the years before. Just a few years later in 1986, Top Gun was released, sending sales for Aviators skyrocketing. By 1988, Ray-Ban was selling over 4.5 million pairs of Aviators a year. When Cruise nabbed a role in 1988's Rain Man, director Barry Levinson actually told Cruise that he didn't want his character wearing Ray-Bans because he thought that he was too closely associated with the brand.

    Tom Cruise in "Top Gun"

    14. Despite its name, the vampire squid is actually a pretty gentle little guy. To make the naming even more confusing, the vampire squid isn't even technically a squid! Scientists originally classified the creature as Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which translates to "vampire squid from hell." Instead of living off of blood, the vampire squid mostly eats marine snow, which is comprised of particles of dead animals, rotting materials, poop, and snot.

    15. Before Walt Disney World was built in Florida, Disney was allegedly eyeing New Orleans as a potential location for a park. In 1963, Walt Disney was scouting out locations for his amusement park. Sam Caruso, who later became the mayor of Slidell, Louisiana, claimed that he dealt extensively with a Disney aide who was looking to purchase property in the Big Easy. He also alleged that Disney was in talks with city and state officials to put the park's construction in motion. On November 22, 1963, president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, sending the business dealings to a halt.

    New Orleans

    Once the shock from the murder subsided, it was back to business. However, during this time, Disney had flown over Orlando in his plane and decided that he wanted to build his park there instead of New Orleans. The company began setting up dummy corporations to purchase land under so they could keep their plans under wraps. By 1965, it was revealed that Disney was building Walt Disney World in Orlando, and the park opened in 1971. Although the park ended up in Florida, Disney was also apparently thinking about St. Louis, Missouri as a potential home for EPCOT, but realized that it would involve a total restoration of the city's downtown and wouldn't quite align with Disney's vision.

    16. More than two-thirds of current and former NASA astronauts were active in Boy or Girl Scouts as children. NASA claims that almost all of their missions have had someone on board who was involved in the scouts as a child. There have even been several missions where everyone involved was a former scout.

    Girl Scouts

    17. If your name is Jessica, you have William Shakespeare to thank for coining your name! The first known instance of the name Jessica appearing anywhere was in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, prompting historians to credit the Bard with inventing the name.

    Jessica Simpson

    18. Sammy Davis Jr. was a Black performer who broke racial barriers in Hollywood. As a child, Davis performed vaudeville with his father until he was drafted into the Army to fight in World War II at just 17 years old. During an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, Davis discussed his time in the military and said his fellow soldiers beat him, painted him white, and poured pee in his beer. Some believed this treatment pushed Davis to excel in show business. According to cultural critic Gerald Early, Davis likely thought that being successful in Hollywood would “transcend all those humiliations…they’re going to love [him] as an entertainer no matter how much they may hate [him] as a Black.”

    Sammy Davis Jr.

    After the war, Davis returned to performing and released several albums that went on to be incredibly successful. In 1953, Davis, along with the trio he performed with, were offered their own TV show about being Black musicians. The show would be revolutionary in that it wouldn't use any of the stereotypical Black characters of the time period, and instead would focus on the characters as people. After the show couldn't get any sponsors, it was shelved. In 1954, Davis lost his eye in a car accident but continued performing.

    Sammy Davis Jr.

    By 1959, Davis began performing with the Rat Pack, a group of friends and performers that also listed Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop as core members. The group's performances blended music and comedy, but much of the humor was targeted at Davis, who was the only Black member. While on stage, Davis acted like the jokes didn't affect him, which caused people to view him as an "Uncle Tom" figure. In 1998, Don Cheadle played Davis in a movie about the Rat Pack. It was reported that Cheadle initially declined because he felt that the movie glossed over the way Davis was treated by the members.

    The Rat Pack

    In 1960, Davis married May Britt, a white Swedish actor. At the time, interracial marriages were illegal in 31 states and were still very rare even in places where they were allowed. The controversy around the marriage allegedly caused John F. Kennedy, Jr. to rescind an invitation for Davis to perform at his inauguration party.

    May Britt and Sammy Davis Jr.

    19. I will never forget the absolute shock of my classmates when our elementary school art teacher told us that Vincent van Gogh had cut off his own ear. In the years since, I realized that she never quite told us why, so I decided to do a little digging. According to the Vincent van Gogh Museum, the painter cut off his left ear while in an argument with fellow artist Paul Gauguin. During this time, van Gogh had been experiencing signs of mental illness: He frequently hallucinated and would often lose consciousness. It is believed that during the fight, he grabbed a knife and cut off his ear, but had no recollection of it when he regained consciousness.

    A van Gogh painting

    20. Ford's Theatre, where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865, has vowed to never perform Our American Cousin, which was the play Lincoln was watching when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. On April 22, 1865, just eight days after Lincoln's death, they performed the play for the final time so investigators could get a clear idea of what happened. After this, the theater closed down for 103 years. When it reopened in 1968, they agreed to never re-stage the play out of respect.

    A painting/reenactment of the Lincoln assassination

    21. Sacheen Littlefeather was an actor and activist who made headlines in 1973 for her Oscar appearance. Marlon Brando won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather. He was frustrated by the way Native Americans were being treated in Hollywood, and in protest, sent Littlefeather on stage to decline his award. Littlefeather had previously acted in films like Winterhawk, Shoot the Sun Down, and The Trial of Billy Jack.

    Sacheen Littlefeather

    When Brando's name was announced, she headed to the stage clad in a buckskin dress and moccasins. The 1973 awards were the first time the show had been broadcast internationally, and over 85 million people watched Littlefeather's passionate speech, which came just a month into a standoff between Native American activists and authorities after police killed a Lakota man at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. As a result of the speech, Littlefeather was essentially blacklisted in Hollywood. In August 2022, the Academy issued a formal apology for the way Littlefeather had been treated. In response, Littlefeather said, "We Indians are very patient people — it’s only been 50 years! We need to keep our sense of humor about this at all times. It’s our method of survival." She died in October 2022.

    Sacheen Littlefeather

    22. Bewitched, which followed an ad exec who marries a witch, charmed audiences in the late 1960s. The show was known for being a "civil rights allegory" and frequently tackled themes of tolerance through the lens of living as a witch. In 1969, viewers were left confused when Dick York, who played Darrin Stephens, the male lead, was swapped out of the show and replaced with Dick Sargent without any explanation. From that point, many believed the show had jumped the shark, and it began rapidly losing viewers.

    Meanwhile, Marcella Saunders, an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, was looking for a way to get her students excited about writing and decided to send letters to actors and writers from primetime TV shows to see if her students could contribute ideas. Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery and the show's producer (and Montgomery's then-husband) William Asher got the letter and invited Saunders's class to come to the show's set. As a thank you for the visit, the class wrote up a storyline for an episode that revolved around race and friendship between Black and white people.

    a Black family over for christmas on the show

    Barbara Avedon, a writer for the show, turned their storyline into a script. The episode, called "Sisters At Heart," aired as the show's holiday special on Christmas Eve in 1970. The names of all 26 students from the class appeared in the episode's on-screen credits. It was praised by both the media and educators and won the 1971 Governor's Award at the Emmys. "I think Elizabeth Montgomery and her husband Bill Asher were political people, and I don’t think they were afraid to kind of face the issues," Erin Murphy, who played a child version of Montgomery's character, told Closer. Montgomery was vocal about the episode being her favorite during the show's 254-episode run.

    two kids in bed with polka dots on their faces

    23. About one-third of murders committed in the United States go unsolved. This has been a more recent development — 50 years ago, the "clearance rate," referring to the percentage of murders that ended in an arrest, was over 90%. So, what happened? According to the FBI, the rate has lowered because standards for arrest are higher, DNA technology is more precise, and there has been an increase in "no snitch" culture, leading to fewer arrests.

    FBI agent looking at a wall full of photos

    24. Despite the fact that chicken Parmesan is probably on the menu at your local Italian restaurant, it's technically not authentic Italian cuisine. When immigrants from Sicily began to settle in the United States in the 1950s, they often made eggplant Parmesan, a dish comprised of fried eggplant with tomato sauce and Parmesan that dates back to 1837. In the United States, meat was much cheaper, so immigrants started experimenting by swapping the eggplant for chicken. It soon started to make its way into Italian-American restaurants, where it became a beloved meal.

    25. In July 1988, Michael Jackson was set to perform at Wembley Stadium as part of his Bad tour. Jackson allegedly decided to remove the song "Dirty Diana" from the setlist out of respect for Princess Diana, who would be in attendance at the show. In a 1997 interview with Barbara Walters, Jackson said that when he met Diana before the show, she asked him if he was going to play the song. He told her that he cut it from the setlist out of respect for her, but she told him that she loved the song and wanted to hear him perform it.

    Michael Jackson with Princess Diana

    It has often been speculated that Jackson actually wrote "Dirty Diana" with Princess Diana in mind, but Jackson debunked that speculation. "It's not about Lady Diana," Jackson told Barbara Walters. "It's about certain kinds of girls that hang around concerts or clubs. You know, they call them groupies. I've lived that all my life — they do everything with the band."

    View this video on YouTube

    SME / Via

    26. If you have a cat, then your beloved pet is actually over 95% tiger! A 2013 study found that cats share about 95.6% of their genetic makeup with tigers, despite the fact that they diverged on the evolutionary tree nearly 11 million years ago.

    27. The Amityville Horror is pretty much required viewing for any horror fan, but the legend of the real house is honestly even more terrifying than the movie itself. On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. brutally murdered his parents and four siblings in their sleep. He claimed that he had been hearing voices that encouraged him to kill his family. DeFeo confessed to the murders, but his attorneys still attempted to plead insanity, citing the voices DeFeo claimed he heard in his head as proof.

    the large 2 story house

    Despite the fact that such gruesome murders happened in the home, it went back on the market. Just 13 months after the DeFeo murders, the Lutz family purchased the home for $80,000. When the Lutzes moved in, they claimed that they immediately experienced strange phenomena, alleging that they noticed green slime coming from the walls and keyholes, smelled strange odors around the home, and felt random cold patches of air. George Lutz claimed that he saw his wife and children levitating in their beds. Additionally, George, whose family members said dabbled in the occult, said that he was woken up at 3:15 a.m. every morning, which was the time DeFeo supposedly carried out his murders.

    closeup of DeFeo

    After these creepy occurrences, the Lutzes reportedly hired a priest to come and bless the house. When the priest arrived, they claimed that the priest heard a voice scream, "Get out!" and promptly told the Lutzes to never sleep in that bedroom. Just 28 days after they moved in, the Lutz family decided to move out of the house. They started to share their story. Many began to question the validity of their claims, so George and his wife Kathy took a lie detector test. Although they passed the test, people close to the couple still publicly doubted their story.

    a priest and a clergymen standing behind him

    Their claims were turned into a book in 1977, and a movie in 1979. In 1979, William Weber, the couple's attorney, who quit after a financial dispute, told the media that he had helped George and Kathy make up the story "over many bottles of wine." The Lutzes were allegedly caught up in financial trouble, and some believed that they devised the story in order to use the money they made to pay their debts. Since the murders, the house has been sold four more times, but now has a new address: 108 Ocean Avenue, put in place to deter tourists.

    a couple standing outside of a house

    28. In Montana, you can technically get married without either member of the couple actually being there! It's called a double proxy marriage and requires a party present for both members of the couple. The law was likely developed to allow young miners who headed out west for work to marry their girlfriends back home. Today, at least one person in the marriage has to be from Montana, or must be an active member of the US military.

    29. When Ozzy Osbourne's band Black Sabbath was gaining popularity in the 1970s, they realized that many of their fans were Satanists. In his memoir, Osbourne wrote that the band would often turn down requests to perform "black masses" at cemeteries with them after the show. “I’d say to them, ‘Look, mate, the only evil spirits I’m interested in are called whisky, vodka, and gin.” On one occasion, the band was invited to perform a concert at Stonehenge by a group of Satan worshippers. Osbourne said that the band turned down the show. In response, the Satanists allegedly told the band that they were going to put a curse on them.

    ozzy holding a mic stand

    “One night, after finishing a show, we returned to the hotel and found the corridor leading to our rooms completely filled with people wearing black cloaks, sitting on the floor with candles in their hands, chanting, ‘Ahhhh,'" band member Tony Iommi recalled. Black Sabbath ended up taking matters into their own hands to get the Satanists to leave them alone. "We synchronized our watches, opened our doors at the same time, blew the candles out, and sang 'Happy Birthday' to them," Iommi said. "Pissed 'em off." Despite the interruptions, Black Sabbath members have said that they owe some of their popularity to the so-called Satanists. "The good thing about the satanic stuff was that it gave us endless free publicity," Osbourne said. "People couldn’t get enough of it."

    Black Sabbath

    30. Saturn is obviously incredibly recognizable for its rings, although their origin had scientists scratching their heads for centuries. A recent article published in a science journal claims that Saturn's rings were created when a moon came too close to the planet. As a result, Saturn's gravitational pull tore the moon apart. The article suggests that the rings are not actually solid, but instead are tiny chunks of the moon that are spinning so quickly, they appear to be solid forms.

    saturn and the rings around it

    31. When tulips made their way to Holland in the 17th century, they were an incredibly hot commodity. Prices for the flowers rose, and the demand for tulips began to outweigh the available supply. By 1610, one tulip bulb was seen as an acceptable form of dowry for young brides. In France, an entire brewery was exchanged for a rare tulip bulb. The phenomenon was dubbed Tulip Mania.

    Tulip Mania hit its peak in Holland in 1633. Prior to this, the tulip trade had been restricted to professionals, but in 1633, the market opened up for regular people to dabble in the tulip craze. People would remortgage their homes and assets in order to keep up with the tulip pricing structure. By 1637, the tulip trade crashed, and the price of tulips hit rock bottom, leaving many Dutch families penniless.

    a garden of tulips

    32. If you've ever seen someone get a mini pot-bellied pig or teacup pig as a pet, then you might want to warn them that their pet is actually part of a marketing scam. According to Smithsonian Magazine, all pot-bellied pigs that are sold as "minis" are all eventually going to grow up to be full-sized pigs. In fact, these pigs were likely underfed to stunt their growth, a practice that many breeders encourage buyers to continue as the pig grows up.

    two baby pigs

    33. Elvis Presley's legacy in Mexico was plagued with controversy. In the 1950s, a Mexican newspaper columnist wrote that Presley had called Mexico "a distasteful country," and insulted Mexican women. As a result, protesters began burning Presley's albums. In 1963, Presley starred in Fun in Acapulco, in which Presley played a lifeguard working at a Mexican hotel. In the film, Presley performed songs in Spanish, with lines like "Life begins in Mexico!" The movie was not filmed on location in Mexico, but on a lot in Hollywood.

    elvis in the movie on a beach with two other people

    Turns out, the entire controversy was supposedly a setup: A Mexican politician had reportedly asked Presley if he would perform a private concert for his teenage daughter and her friends. Presley turned down the gig, and as a result, the politician allegedly decided to turn his constituents against the singer. According to Billboard, Presley attempted to repair the rift throughout his career. In 1998, BMG Mexico released an album series called Elvis Le Canta a Mexico (Elvis Sings to Mexico), perhaps to win back some favor with Mexican fans.

    Elvis sitting down with a guitar

    34. While the NFL draft is now a pretty huge deal with tons of media coverage and fanfare, it wasn't always such a spectacle. In the 1970s, coaches were notorious for pulling pranks during later rounds after the big-name players had been drafted. In the 17th (and final) round of the 1971 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected "tackle John Wayne of Apache U." Turns out, the team was referring to 63-year-old actor John Wayne as a joke, but both fans and fellow coaches fell for the gag. Wayne actually did play football for the University of Southern California in the 1920s before an injury forced him to quit.

    closeup of Wayne

    35. As a kid, I was obsessed with presidents, and I was even more obsessed with the story that William Howard Taft got stuck in the White House bathtub and required the strength of six men to free him. Years later, I learned that the story was actually a total myth. The legend reportedly began to spread after Irwin Hoover, who worked in the White House for over 40 years, wrote in his 1934 memoir that Taft used to "stick" to the tub and required assistance when getting out. The story is actually quite sad: Taft, who had been vocal about struggling with his weight, weighed about 340 pounds at the time of his inauguration, and was often chastised by the press for it.

    portrait of Taft

    36. When Nike was developing its iconic Cortez shoe in 1967, they wanted to name it the Aztec in honor of the 1968 Olympics, which were being held in Mexico. The issue? Adidas already had a sneaker called the Azteca Gold. When the brand heard about Nike's plan, they said they were prepared to sue if Nike went through with the shoe's name. Nike co-founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman decided to swap the name.

    model on a skateboard wearing the pair of shoes

    In Shoe Dog, Knight's memoir, he wrote that he drove over to Bowerman's house to brainstorm new names. "'Who was that guy who kicked the sh*t out of the Aztecs?' he asked," Knight wrote. "'Cortez,' I said. He grunted. 'Okay. Let's call it the Cortez.'" Hernán Cortés was a Spanish conquistador who conquered the Aztecs and took their capital city of Tenochtitlan. NPR wrote that the name Cortez was "a reference to the atrocities of colonization," and stood out as a sign that Nike (then called Blue Ribbon Sports) "was looking to make waves in the world of footwear."

    portrait of cortes

    37. About an hour before Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, he engaged in a pillow fight with his friends at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. "Ambassador Andrew Young once told me it was the happiest he’d seen Dr. King in a long time. The leader had been exhausted and worried for months prior. But on this day 50 years ago, he was content," director Ava DuVernay wrote in a 2018 essay reflecting on King's impact on the 50th anniversary of his death.

    closeup of King

    38. Aquariums aren't technically allowed to pay other aquariums for their animals, as the practice is viewed as a form of poaching and requires a permit when it comes to endangered species. Instead, they have developed a barter system with each other where they trade animals. The New England Aquarium breeds and barters hundreds of jellyfish, which they trade in mass quantities to secure new sea creatures to display. Because these bartering transactions don't use any money, it allows aquariums to get past the pesky permits.

    39. Carrie, the novel that kickstarted Stephen King's legendary horror career, was nearly taken out with the trash. King and his wife Tabby were living in a trailer in Maine in the 1970s and said they were struggling to get by. King was working as an English teacher and often picked up odd jobs for extra money, in addition to writing short stories that he would send to magazines. When his school approached him to become the coach of the debate team, he nearly accepted the job because it came with a $300 bonus, until Tabby realized that he would have no time to write, and told him to turn it down and encouraged him to work on a new project.

    closeup of stephen king

    King got the inspiration for Carrie from a reader who responded to a short story he had published in Cavalier, a "nudie mag" that also published short fiction. "You write all those macho things," a reader said. "But you can’t write about women. You’re scared of women." King took that as a challenge, and developed Carrie, a high schooler who could control objects with her mind and used her powers to exact revenge on her classmates. King said he based the character on two of the "loneliest girls" from his own high school experience. Both of the women Carrie was modeled after had died in the years since.

    book cover

    King said their deaths made Carrie incredibly difficult to write. He also said the story was moving too slowly to be accepted by the magazines that normally published his work. After writing three pages, King allegedly crumpled up his work and threw it away. Later, Tabby reportedly found the pages in the garbage and told him that it was a story worth sticking with. Nine months later, King had finished his draft. Carrie was rejected by 30 publishers before landing at Doubleday. King received a $2,500 advance for the novel. While the hardcover version of the book sold rather modestly, the rights to the paperback sold to Signet Books for $400,000 in 1974, and went on to sell a million copies in its first year. In 1976, the film adaptation was released.

    40. The phrase "poster child" likely originated in 1730s London, where artist William Hogarth painted an image of a child on a hospital's coat of arms in order to boost patronage and donations to the hospital. Despite the first poster child appearing in 1737, the phrase wasn't commonly used until the 1930s, when the National Society for Crippled Children sold stamps featuring images of children on crutches with the tagline, "Help Crippled Children."

    a young kid and teen holding stamps in front of a sign

    41. If you're an American who loves Chinese food, then you probably owe Joyce Chen a big thank you. Chen was a Chinese chef who revolutionized Chinese food in America during the 1960s. Born and raised in Shanghai, Chen and her husband fled China in 1949 as the Communist regime took hold. They ended up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1955, Chen made egg rolls for a fair at her son's school. The egg rolls were a massive hit and sold out. Although Chen's children have admitted that the egg rolls she made were nothing like the traditional Chinese version, Chen knew the perfect way to cater them to American taste buds.

    woman cooking

    Soon, Chen began developing new takes on traditional Chinese cuisine with tweaks for American audiences. She even designed and patented a wok that would work with American stoves. Chen started teaching cooking classes, and by 1958, had opened her own restaurant. In 1962, she self-published a cookbook full of her recipes. A local TV station took notice of Chen's popularity. In 1966, they offered her a cooking show on WGBH (in the same year, the channel also developed Julia Child's cooking show). Audiences claimed they had a hard time understanding Chen, and WGBH chose not to renew her show. In the 1970s, she traveled to China and made a food documentary, but spent the rest of her life behind the camera, focusing on her restaurants. Chen rarely received recognition for her culinary achievements during her lifetime, but has since been the focus of an HBO documentary and has appeared on postal stamps honoring culinary icons.

    Chen hosting a cooking show

    42. At the 1939 Academy Awards, Shirley Temple presented Walt Disney with an honorary Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the first traditionally animated feature film. Keeping in the theme of the movie, the award was comprised of one normal-sized Oscar, with seven mini statuettes to represent the dwarves. This was Walt Disney's second honorary Oscar.

    Shirley Temple presenting the award to Walt Disney

    43. In 1967, musicians Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie left their band the Bluesbreakers, and joined forces with Jeremy Spencer and Bob Brunning to form the original iteration of Fleetwood Mac. By the time their third album was released in 1970, the band was starting to achieve mainstream success, although several members were personally struggling. Green left the band first, after an alleged bad acid trip began to affect him mentally. He was replaced with Christine McVie, who is still a member of the band to this day. Following Green's departure, Spencer began to distance himself from the band, and even released a solo album.

    Fleetwood Mac sitting and standing amongst trees

    While on tour in 1971, Spencer told his bandmates that he was going to the store to buy a magazine. He never returned. After several days of searching, the members of Fleetwood Mac learned that Spencer had purportedly decided to join a religious group called the Children of God, which has faced criticism for being a cult. He had allegedly been spending some time with the group, and claimed that a feeling of disillusionment caused him to leave the band to join the Children of God. "Bottom line, I had to leave in order to step back from the picture and get my life sorted out," Spencer said. "I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t, and they would not have gone on to be one of the biggest bands in history!"

    Fleetwood Mac onstage with an arrow pointing to Spencer

    Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, something Spencer said he had prayed for. "I knew when I heard the first album with the Buckingham-Nicks lineup, that they had hit on something good with an enormously catchy appeal," he said. "Besides that, after I left them, I prayed for God to reward them with success beyond their dreams. He answered that prayer." By 1976, the band had released Rumours, which was named the seventh-best album of all-time by Rolling Stone.

    Rumours album cover

    44. While you might think that flamingos have pretty double-jointed knees that can bend backward, you're actually most likely thinking of their ankles. A flamingo's actual knee is located much farther up on their leg and is hidden by their body and feathers, while the ankle is the actual joint that you see bending.

    flamingos at the beach and an arrow pointing to one flamingo's ankle

    45. 1964 was clearly a time for spooky-themed TV shows! The Addams Family and Bewitched premiered in the same week in September 1964, while The Munsters followed just a week later. CBS had reportedly started pre-production on The Munsters, which put a spin on the traditional family sitcom by setting it in a family full of lovable monsters, long before ABC had gotten their start on The Addams Family. When ABC heard about CBS's project, they sprung into action. While ABC had already planned to adapt Charles Addams's cartoons into a TV series, the news about The Munsters caused them to accelerate production. They ended up beating The Munsters to air by a matter of a few days.

    the cast of The Munsters posing for a photo

    CBS had filmed the pilot for The Munsters in color, but ultimately decided to air the show in black and white to save money. The color pilot episode, called "My Fair Munster," never made it to air, but was played at test screenings. Some said that leaving the show in black and white helped maintain the spookier tone, but it also ended up leading to a decline in viewers. By 1966, a full-color Batman series had premiered on ABC, causing viewership on black and white series like The Munsters to dip.

    a family portrait of the Munsters

    46. In 1979, Stevie Wonder released The Secret Life of Plants, a mostly instrumental album that also served as a soundtrack for a documentary of the same name. As a marketing tool, manufacturers sprayed the inside of the record's cover with a floral perfume. The issue? The perfume ended up eating away at the vinyl, thus destroying the records.

    Stevie Wonder at the piano

    47. If you can't get enough of true crime, then you need to thank Truman Capote! Capote's In Cold Blood is widely regarded as the first true crime novel. Capote used fiction techniques while telling the story of the real-life murders of the Clutter family and the subsequent trial. In 1959, Capote, fresh off of the success of Breakfast at Tiffany's, wanted to try his hand at pioneering the first "nonfiction novel."

    Truman Capote leaning in a chair

    On November 14, 1959, Herbert Clutter and his family were brutally murdered after two men broke into their home on a Kansas farm looking for money. They believed that the Clutters had cash stashed away in a safe on the property. When they learned that the safe didn't exist, they decided that they didn't want to leave any witnesses behind after the break-in, and killed the entire family before fleeing the scene.

    The Clutters' home

    After learning about the murders, Capote decided to leave New York and head to Holcomb, Kansas. He was accompanied by Harper Lee, his close friend and author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Capote was able to charm the townspeople in Holcomb, and began to get insider information about the murders and the investigation. Six weeks after the crime, a man who had been former cell mates with Perry Smith and Richard "Dick" Hickock revealed that the men had plans to rob the family in search of the safe, and alerted the police. Smith and Hickock were arrested, and admitted their guilt.

    Smith and Hickock under arrest

    While writing the book, Capote said that he needed to get the killers' side of the story. He ended up meeting up with them while they were in prison and struck up a close friendship with Smith. The pair kept in contact for five years and bonded over art, music, and books. Although Smith and Hickok had been given the death penalty, their executions kept getting pushed off. Capote was waiting for their executions to finish the book but also allegedly didn't want his now-close friend to be killed, even though he had admitted that he was guilty. On April 14, 1965, Smith and Hickock were executed. They asked Capote to be present at the execution, but he ran out before Smith was killed. In Cold Blood first ran as a serial in the New Yorker in 1965, was published in book form in 1966, and was turned into a movie in 1967.

    In Cold Blood books

    48. Some consider Martin Van Buren to be the first true American president. Van Buren was born in New York in 1782, making him the first president who was born in the United States. Despite this, Van Buren was the first and, so far, only president for whom English was his second language. He grew up speaking Dutch.

    Martin Van Buren

    49. While pinball seems like a rather innocent game, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia banned it from New York City in the early 1940s. Prior to the flipper, which allowed people to have better control of the ball, being invented in 1947, the game was very random, yet still had tons of people placing wagers on games. The cash-based nature of the game also attracted criminals and members of the mob. In 1942, La Guardia officially banned the game. Many assumed that he wanted to ban the game for moral reasons, but he publicly stated that the materials that were used to construct the machines needed to be used to fight World War II.

    Once the ban was put in place, many other cities soon followed suit. Pinball manufacturers were frustrated by this ruling, and started to change up the rules on the already-existing machines so that players couldn't "win" the game, thus allowing them to evade the gambling rules placed on the machines. Newspapers began running articles saying that pinball games were essentially "stealing lunch money" from young children. Pinball was officially unbanned in New York City in 1976. Many other cities reversed the ban shortly after, although Oakland, California didn't legalize pinball until 2014!

    sailors playing pinball

    50. Despite the fact that the word centipede means "100 feet," centipedes actually never have 100 legs. They always have an odd number of leg pairs, which means the closest they could get to their namesake is either 99 or 101 legs.

    51. Jim Thorpe has gone down in both NFL and Olympic history for his achievements. He was the first Native American to win an Olympic medal and was voted NFL president when the league was formed in 1920. When Thorpe died in 1953, he did not leave behind a will. Shortly after his death, there was a proposal to build a monument to the athlete in his home state of Oklahoma.

    Jim Thorpe competing

    After the governor of Oklahoma allegedly decided the monument was too expensive, Thorpe's third wife, Patricia, decided to strike up a deal with the state of Pennsylvania to bury Thorpe in a town located in the Poconos, which would be renamed to honor him. In 2014, one of Thorpe's sons filed a motion to have Thorpe's body moved to Sac and Fox land in Oklahoma to honor Thorpe's Native American heritage, but the case was thrown out because the remains had not been disturbed in their final resting place in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

    a flag that says Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

    52. I know there is an intense debate over whether candy corn is actually good or not, and this might be a key piece of evidence in the argument. Candy corn contains both gelatin and confectioner's glaze. Gelatin is often made of animal hide and bones, while the confectioner's glaze is made from secretions from the lac bug, a parasite that protects itself by emitting a waxy, waterproof coating. The glaze, often called shellac, is actually found in tons of candies, and also is used to create the coating on many pills.

    53. Christa McAuliffe was a teacher chosen to be the first private American citizen to reach space as part of NASA's Teacher in Space program. The Teacher in Space project was announced in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, who invited teachers across the country to apply to be the first civilian in space. In return, the teacher would teach a lesson from space, then would recount their experiences to students around the country. McAuliffe was selected out of over 11,000 applicants. Barbara Morgan was named her backup. On January 28, 1986, McAuliffe boarded the Challenger space shuttle, which exploded shortly after its launch, killing seven astronauts. The disaster negatively affected NASA's public reputation and put all space missions to a halt for two and a half years.

    Morgan and McAuliffe in NASA space uniforms

    After the disaster, Reagan said that the US would continue sending teachers into space. However, in 1990, NASA announced that they were discontinuing the program because they felt it was still too risky to send a civilian to space. Despite this, in 2002, NASA announced that Morgan, who had trained as McAuliffe's backup, would finally make it to space. After the Challenger disaster, Morgan had lobbied to reinstate the Teacher in Space program and had trained as a Mission Specialist. In August 2007, Morgan entered space aboard the STS-118, making her the first teacher to officially reach space.

    Morgan in a space suit

    54. Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, was actually a direct descendant of John Hathorne, one of the judges who served in the Salem 1690s witch trials. Hathorne's rulings were responsible for the deaths of 24 women accused of being witches. Hathorne was known for asking the accused women who their "accomplices" were in order to increase the number of women being prosecuted. While many other judges later expressed their guilt and sorrow for their involvement, Hathorne supposedly never did. In 1851, Hawthorne published The House of the Seven Gables, a novel inspired by the Salem Witch Trials.

    painting of Nathaniel Hawthorne

    55. Since Queen Elizabeth II's death last month, there has been tons of media coverage about royal lineages as her son Charles becomes king. Elizabeth's royal reign wasn't always a given. In 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne after falling in love with Wallis Simpson, a married American woman. Although Simpson got divorced, the palace did not allow the pair to marry. Edward said that he refused to rule without Simpson by his side, and abdicated the throne on December 10, 1936. Prince Albert, Edward's brother and Elizabeth's father, was next in line, and was crowned king on December 11, 1936.

    King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

    So, what would the royal line of succession look like today had Edward remained king? While this is a hypothetical scenario, the Guardian determined that had Edward reigned as king until his 1972 death, then his oldest surviving brother, Henry, would have become king. Instead, Albert took the throne and served as king until his death in 1952, after which Elizabeth began her 70-year reign as queen.

    portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

    56. Before writing the legendary Goosebumps series, R.L. Stine was more into writing humor. In addition to writing joke books, Stine told NPR that he wrote the jokes on Bazooka gum wrappers. He started his pivot to horror after a lunch with his editor, who allegedly had gotten in a fight with one of her authors who wrote young adult horror. She told Stine that she believed he would be good at writing in that genre and even gave him the title for his first book: Blind Date. The book went on to become a bestseller and kicked off the Goosebumps series.

    RL Stine holding one of his books

    57. Although hippos need to breathe air in order to survive, they typically sleep under water. While snoozing, hippos automatically close their nostrils. They come to the surface every few minutes to breathe. This all happens unconsciously, and it never wakes them up.

    58. Millvina Dean was the youngest survivor of the Titanic and ended up being the last living survivor of the tragedy before her death in 2009. Dean was just 9 weeks old when the Titanic sunk in 1912. Legend has it that Dean's mother and older brother got a lifeboat and waited for the infant to be lowered down to them in a canvas mailbag. Dean's father stayed behind and did not survive. When the story about Dean's survival broke, she became a pint-sized celebrity. After landing in America, Dean's mother decided she would return to England with her children.

    Millvina Dean

    On their boat voyage home, people lined up to get the chance to hold her. "[She] was the pet of the liner during the voyage, and so keen was the rivalry between women to nurse this lovable mite of humanity that one of the officers decreed that first- and second-class passengers might hold her in turn for no more than 10 minutes," the Daily Mirror wrote. When Dean grew up, she worked as a cartographer during World War II. Later in her life, she made several public appearances related to the Titanic, but refused to see James Cameron's 1997 movie about the tragedy. Despite this, James Cameron and Titanic stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio all contributed to a fund to cover Dean's healthcare.

    Dean by a model of the Titanic

    59. Joshua Tree National Park is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. The park clocks in at 1,242.4 square miles, while Rhode Island is 1,214 square miles.

    Sign for Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center

    60. While the lyrics of the 1972 hit song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" certainly seem like they're inspired by history, Elliot Lurie, the guitarist and singer from Looking Glass said that any parallels to history were a mere coincidence. The song is about a fictional barmaid, who, despite getting attention from many men, pines for her love, who left her because he claimed that his true love was the sea. Many believed that Looking Glass were inspired by the story of Mary Ellis while writing this song. Ellis was a woman from New Brunswick, New Jersey who fell in love with a sea captain. When he left for sea, he promised her that he would marry her when he returned, but he never came back.

    the Looking Glass sitting together and smiling

    Ellis's story is apparently a New Brunswick legend, and her grave is even located right behind an AMC movie theater. To make things even more interesting, the members of Looking Glass are from New Jersey. Case closed, right? Lurie told the Tennessean that he had never heard the story about Ellis. Instead, the song was inspired by his high school girlfriend, who was named Randy. When asked about Ellis's story, Lurie said that it did not play a role in writing his song. "If that story is true, it’s a remarkable coincidence," he said.

    View this video on YouTube

    SME / Via

    61. Amelia Boynton Robinson made history when she became the first Black woman in the state of Alabama to run for Congress, then helped organize the 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama. As a child in Savannah, Georgia, Robinson helped her mother, who was a strong advocate for women's suffrage, knock on doors to inform women of their right to vote. After she got married, she traveled with her husband around the South, where they encouraged Black farmers to gain financial, educational, and political independence. By the mid-1930s, Robinson and her husband were heavily involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a nonviolent group that advocated for civil rights.

    Amelia Boynton Robinson

    After her husband died in 1963, Robinson began to organize more heavily in Selma, Alabama. In 1964, Robinson became the first Black woman to run for Congress in Alabama. Although she was defeated, she received 11% of the vote, despite the fact that only about 5% of her district was comprised of Black voters. After a court injunction put a stop to local protests, Robinson reached out to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was run by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In January 1965, King headed to Selma to kick off a campaign for voting rights. On March 7, 1965, now known as "Bloody Sunday," Boynton was among the front rows as over 600 protestors crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. She was beaten to unconsciousness. On the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, Robinson crossed the bridge once again with President Barack Obama.

    Robinson crossing the bridge with Obama

    62. Despite having only 1,000 residents, Vatican City has the world's highest crime rate, clocking in at about 1.5 crimes per citizen. Most of the crimes committed in Vatican City are thefts, many of which involve pickpocketing tourists. There is no prison in Vatican City and only one judge, so many criminals are taken into Italy. In 2007, Vatican City issued its first-ever drug conviction after a man was found with cocaine in his desk at work.

    Vatican City

    63. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was an early 2000s TV staple, but it actually originated on screen as a TV movie! Melissa Joan Hart, who plays Sabrina, said that her mother actually played a key role in bringing the original comic book to the screen. "My mom doesn't get nearly enough credit for her job as the woman spearheading the show," Hart told Marie Claire. "She is the one who was handed the Archie Comics book on a playground at my sister's school in Manhattan and sold it to Viacom as a Showtime movie." The movie premiered in April 1996, and also starred Ryan Reynolds.

    Melissa Joan Hart and Ryan Reynolds

    After the initial success of the movie, Hart said that her mom knew it would be a hit TV show. "She always knew it would make an incredible series, but no one would listen, until she cut together a trailer from the movie and pitched it to all four major networks at the time." There was even a bidding war between ABC and NBC for the series, with the show ultimately going to ABC because Hart and her mother liked their "TGIF" programming lineup. Despite the bidding war, Hart claimed that ABC didn't initially support the show. "They were counting on Clueless the show to be the big hit; we were just the little show that would follow that," Hart said. "But we ended up being the fan favorite."

    64. The goblin shark, often known as a "living fossil" because they've been around for so long, is maybe one of the creepiest species of sharks out there. Goblin sharks use their long snouts, which are covered in special sensing organs, to sense electric fields in the ocean. That's not the only thing they use their snout for: They can extend the snout to help them ambush and kill their prey. Goblin sharks are rare, and it's believed they haven't evolved in over 70 million years.

    Goblin shark

    65. You've probably seen the memes poking fun at warnings to check your child's Halloween candy for drugs, razor blades, and other unsafe substances, which got me wondering if there has ever actually been any instances of poisoned Halloween candy. Turns out, the warning has been around since the 1970s, likely stemming from the tragic case of Timothy O’Bryan, an 8-year-old who died on Halloween in 1974 after his father allegedly fed him laced candy.

    Ronald Clark O'Bryan

    Just a few days before Halloween, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, Timothy's father, took out a $40,000 life insurance policy on both his son and his daughter, Elizabeth. O'Bryan was supposedly in debt and allegedly saw the policy as a potential way to get out of financial trouble. O'Bryan then reportedly laced some Pixy Stix with cyanide, then persuaded his son to eat one before bed. In order to collect on the policy, O'Bryan had to cover up the murder, so he allegedly decided to distribute the rest of the Pixy Stix to trick-or-treaters in his neighborhood so he could pin the poisoned candy on someone else.


    O'Bryan ultimately distributed the Pixy Stix to at least four other children, including his daughter. Luckily, it is believed that none of the children consumed the candy. Authorities were able to catch onto O'Bryan's scheme because one of the children allegedly had a hard time opening the Pixy Stix packaging, which O'Bryan had resealed with staples. O'Bryan was executed in 1984 for his crimes. Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Denver who has been studying allegations of strangers poisoning Halloween candy, told Smithsonian Magazine that in his 30 years of research, he has never found an instance where a stranger poisoned, then distributed, Halloween candy to children.

    Evidence from the trial

    66. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there has been tons of speculation of exactly how much the royal family is worth. One big-ticket item that was also a source of personal passion for Queen Elizabeth was her stamp collection, which is valued at a whopping £100 million. The collection, known as the Royal Philatelic Collection, has been around since 1864 and contains stamps from both England and other Commonwealth countries. Elizabeth reportedly added many stamps to the collection and was known for showing it off to visitors.

    Queen Elizabeth's stamps

    67. Did you know that the terrifying spooky season classic Scream is actually partially based on a true story? Kevin Williamson, who wrote the film's script, said that he was inspired by a 1994 episode of the show Turning Point that discussed the case of Danny Rolling, who was known as the Gainesville Ripper. Rolling killed five college students near the University of Florida over a period of a few days in August 1990.

    Side-by-side of Ghostface and Danny Rolling

    The crimes reportedly caused intense panic on the University of Florida campus. Many students left town, and the school had to beef up their on-campus security. There were reports of an uptick of students purchasing weapons, with some even telling the media that they were sleeping with knives in their beds. Just a few days after what would end up being the final murder, police announced that they had a suspect: Edward Lee Humphrey, an 18-year-old student who had just been arrested for attacking his grandmother. Humphrey lived at the same apartment complex where one of the murders had taken place. Other residents claimed that he had a crush on one of the victims. Once Humphrey had been taken into custody, the murders stopped, so police believed they had solved the case.

    Edward Lee Humphrey

    Despite the authorities' confidence that Humphrey was the killer, they continued to follow additional leads. By January 1991, they believed that Danny Rolling was actually behind the murders. Rolling had previously been arrested several times and had been on the run since May 1990 for allegedly shooting his father in the head. In September 1990, just a few weeks after the murders, Rolling was once again arrested, this time for armed robbery in Ocala, Florida, located less than an hour away from Gainesville. As the police began to dig deeper into Rolling's history, they found that he had been suspected of several murders in 1989 and that the circumstances of those crimes closely resembled the murders in Gainesville.

    Danny Rolling in court

    In January 1991, Rolling was given three life sentences for the armed robbery. This gave the prosecution more time to put together a convincing case that he was the one responsible for the murders in Gainesville. In 1994, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Before his execution in 2006, Rolling allegedly said that he was possessed by a demon named Gemini. Williamson claimed that after watching the show about the Gainesville Ripper, he was terrified to go to sleep because he feared that someone with a knife was waiting for him outside. He channeled that feeling while writing Scream and used the terror Rolling inflicted on Gainesville as fodder for the film.

    68. Vampire finches live on Wolf Island, located at the northwest corner of the Galapagos Islands. Because there are very few water sources near Wolf Island, the birds had to turn to another source of hydration: blood. They use their sharp beaks to attack other birds, with their most common prey being the Nazca booby. The finches often will pull out their feathers and drink the blood from the resulting wound.

    Vampire finch

    69. Olympus Mons, a volcano located on Mars, is believed to be the biggest volcano in the entire solar system. It's 16 miles tall and 374 miles wide, making it approximately the same size as the state of Arizona. For comparison, the tallest volcano on Earth is Hawaii's Mauna Loa, which rises just 6.3 miles above sea level.

    Olympus Mons

    70. In 1851, Monemia McKoy, a slave in North Carolina, gave birth to twins that she named Millie and Christine. The twins were conjoined, connected at their lower spine. By the time they were 2 years old, the girls had been taken from Monemia and sold to various fairs and "freak shows," which took them all over the United States and Canada. Doctors around the country examined them before they were sold to prove that they weren't fraudulently claiming that they were conjoined. At some point during their early childhood, the girls were sold to someone in England and were sent overseas to perform.

    The McCoy twins

    During this time, Joseph Pearson Smith had been attempting to track down the twins. Smith, who owned their mother, was technically the "last rightful owner" of the girls and had hired a private detective to bring them home. The detective found that the twins were performing in Birmingham, England. Smith brought them back to North Carolina when they were nearly 6 years old. Once the twins were back in America, they expressed a desire to continue performing, and they developed a song and dance routine. Millie and Christine soon became known as the Carolina Nightingale. While Smith and his wife agreed to manage their career, they also ensured that the girls learned how to read and write.

    Christine and Millie's poster

    In the 1870s, Millie and Christine embarked on a tour of Europe, where they learned how to speak German, French, Italian, and Spanish. The media marveled at how intelligent the girls were, and soon, they were commanding over $25,000 for their performances. They later purchased the plantation where they had been born, developed a school for Black children, and anonymously supported multiple colleges. They died within hours of each other in 1912.

    The McCoy twins

    71. While some claim that the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill" was written about Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the rhyme actually originated about 30 years before Louis and Marie were found guilty of their crimes. It's actually more likely that the song is about Charles I, who was the king of England in the 17th century. Charles attempted to increase the tax on alcohol. At the time, alcohol was measured in "jacks and gills." When his attempts to increase the tax failed, he instead shrunk the sizes of "jacks and gills," and thus, the price of the alcohol "came tumbling after," as the classic rhyme goes.

    72. In 2015, Burger King introduced a new iteration of their classic Whopper: a burger with a black bun, just in time for Halloween. After eating the burger, people noticed that their poop was bright green and began blaming the burger. CBS even reported that #greenpoop was trending! Turns out, Burger King used several different shades of food coloring to turn the buns black. Dr. Ian Lustbader, a gastroenterologist, told CBS that while most of the food coloring was probably absorbed by the gut during the digestion process, the residual colors likely mixed with stomach bile, resulting in the green poop.

    Black bun burgers and fries

    73. The "Monster Mash" is a Halloween classic, so let's unpack the history of the beloved spooky song! Bobby Pickett, a member of the doo-wop group the Cordials, decided to mix things up while performing a rendition of the song "Little Darlin'," and infused an impersonation of horror actor Boris Karloff into the spoken portion of the song. After seeing the audience's positive reaction to the performance, Pickett said his bandmate Lenny Capizzi told him that he believed they could turn the joke into a full-length song. Pickett said that at first, he was wary of making a joke song because he had aspirations of becoming a "serious actor," but changed his tune a few weeks later after his agent died.

    Bobby Pickett

    After deciding to proceed, Pickett and Capizzi ended up writing the track in only an hour. While recording it, they used household items to make the spooky sound effects: the cauldron sound was achieved by blowing bubbles into a glass of water, and they replicated the sound of a coffin opening by scraping a rusty nail. When "Monster Mash" was released in 1962, it immediately shot up the charts. In a very meta moment, Boris Karloff, the song's initial inspiration, covered it on an episode of his show. Despite the song's success in America, it wasn't as well received across the pond in England. The BBC elected not to play the song because they thought it was "too morbid."

    View this video on YouTube

    Universal Music Group / Via

    74. Chances are, you've visited a Spirit Halloween to pick up a Halloween costume at some point. Spirit Halloween originated in 1983 as Spirit Women's Discount Apparel. After noticing how many people were visiting a nearby costume store, founder Joseph Marver decided to turn Spirit into a seasonal pop-up chain store for Halloween decorations and costumes. The chain is actually part of Spencer's Gifts, which acquired Spirit in 1999. The store, which typically is open from August to early November, now accounts for nearly half of Spencer's yearly earnings.

    Spirit Halloween

    75. Although plenty of Stephen King's novels and short stories have been turned into blockbuster movies, King also wanted to find a way to support filmmakers who were just starting out. In 1982, King created the Dollar Baby program, which allows budding filmmakers to purchase the rights to one of his short stories for only $1. The catch? The films can't be commercially distributed, and a copy of each film must be sent to King himself.

    Stephen King

    King said that he was inspired to start the program after people began inquiring about making short films based on his work around 1977. By 1982, he had officially started the Dollar Baby program. "I have made the dollar deal, as I call it, over my accountant’s moans and head-clutching protests 16 or 17 times as of this writing," King revealed in 1996. Frank Darabont, who went on to direct other King adaptations like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, was one of the beneficiaries of the Dollar Baby program. In 1982, Darabont bought the rights to the short story "The Woman in the Room." King enjoyed the short film so much that he later allowed it to be commercially distributed.

    Stephen King and Frank Darabont

    76. While filming A Night to Remember, a 1958 movie that re-created the Titanic tragedy, Lawrence Beesley, who survived the shipwreck, attempted to jump in one of the movie's pivotal scenes. Beesley claimed that he wanted to symbolically go down with the ship, and he tried to sneak on-camera while they were filming the sinking. Director Roy Ward Baker allegedly refused to let Beesley in the scene because it would have been a union violation that could have led to filming delays.

    A Night to Remember

    77. According to Google search trends, the bestselling Halloween costume across all 50 states is your tried-and-true witch. Other costumes that are popular around the country include Spider-Man, dinosaurs, fairies, and other pop culture options, like Harley Quinn and characters from Stranger Things.

    78. Richard Nixon was a huge football fan who attempted to use the game to his political advantage. Nixon actually played football at Whittier College, although he allegedly was a benchwarmer who rarely saw any field time. After college, he even supposedly tossed around the idea of becoming a sportswriter. Once he became president, Nixon went to football games in order to appear relatable to his constituents. After attending a game between the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders, Nixon was reportedly furious that the media didn't report that the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Richard Nixon at a game

    As tensions revolving around ending the war in Vietnam swelled in 1969, Nixon's administration enforced "National Unity Week," which essentially involved showing "'pro-administration propaganda' at football games." On November 15, 1969, Nixon allegedly sat inside the White House and watched a football game while a massive anti-war protest waged on right outside. "The trouble…isn’t that he watches football but that he makes such an obvious and cheap political gesture of it," the Partisan Review reported.

    Nixon at a game

    Nixon also attempted to use his political power to influence his favorite teams. He was known to show up at Washington Redskins (now called the Washington Commanders) practices and even called up coaches to suggest certain plays. During a 1971 playoff game between the Redskins and San Francisco 49ers, the Redskins ran an unusual reverse play that resulted in a loss of yards, then a blocked field goal that ultimately allowed the 49ers to win the game. In the locker room, one player claimed that coach George Allen had been given "executive orders" to call the bizarre play, with many assuming the call came from Nixon. In 2012, ESPN reported that the play was likely a gag Allen and Nixon, who were friends, set up as a joke to garner media attention.

    Nixon with a football team

    79. Scientists have found that anesthesia doesn't just affect humans, but all living things! A study found that anesthesia is effective in plants and even parts of cells like the mitochondria. During the study, researchers put a Venus flytrap to sleep using anesthesia and found that the gas silenced the nerves that trigger the plant's trapping mechanism.

    80. It is believed that an early monkey species migrated from Africa to South America over 30 million years ago using "natural rafts" made from vegetation and debris. Fossils found in Peru show evidence that a species that was previously believed to only have lived in Africa likely lived in South America about 32 million years ago. When the monkeys made their alleged journey, South America and Africa were located closer together than they are now, and sea levels were also much lower. Scientists have reasoned that the journey was likely not purposeful, and they think that a storm pushed the monkeys out to sea.

    A monkey on a raft

    81. And finally, Alice Coachman was the first Black woman from any country to win an Olympic gold medal. Coachman was born in Georgia. While she displayed athletic talent from a young age, Coachman's father discouraged her from playing sports because it wasn't seen as a feminine pursuit at the time. By the time Coachman was in fifth grade, her teachers encouraged her to take up competitive running. Coachman was unable to practice at any local training facilities because they were segregated, and instead had to create her own training program. Her talent caught the eye of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and she transferred to the historically Black school to train.

    Alice Coachman

    In 1943, Coachman entered Tuskegee's college program, where she won four national championships for sprinting and high jumping. Many encouraged her to try out for the Olympic team. The Olympics had been canceled in both 1940 and 1944 because of World War II, but Coachman ended up trying out for the team in 1948. Although she competed with a back injury, she ended up beating the existing high jump record during the Olympic trials. In August 1948, Coachman won the gold medal in the high jump. She also set a new Olympic record. Not only did she become the first Black woman to win a gold medal, but she also was the only American woman to win a medal during the 1948 Olympics.

    Alice Coachman

    Coachman retired from track after the Olympics and became a teacher and track coach. In 1952, she became a spokesperson for Coca-Cola, making her the first Black female athlete to endorse a major consumer brand. Coachman was inducted into nine Hall of Fames and went on to establish the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation, which helped young athletes who needed financial assistance to compete. Coachman died in 2014.

    Alice Coachman