The Imperial Regalia of Japan consists of a legendary sword, mirror, and jewel. They are brought out at every imperial enthronement, but only a few priests and the emperor himself are ever allowed to see them.
In 1981 Phillip Lewis released potato chips flavoured like roasted hedgehog. In 1982 the UK government prosecuted him for false advertising because the chips did not contain real hedgehog.
How Monet captured colour and weather in his haystacks; the proto-Escher engravings of Piranesi; the extraction of Goya’s famous Black Paintings; and the ancient artistic motif spread across Europe, the Middle East, and India.
Radio announcers’ tongue twister tests, the pirate radio station that broadcast while it sank, the radio play hoax attack twelve years before The War of the Worlds, and the broadcaster who was the last person in the UK executed for treason.
Ghost leg is a technique to randomly match up two groups – assigning a list of chores to a list of people, for example. And all you need is a drawing of a ladder.
The new terminal building of Ottawa’s international airport was supposed to open in 1959. After one pass by a US air force jet the day before the opening ceremony, it could not open until 1960.
The “personal carbon footprint” concept was popularised by an oil company advertising campaign to divert attention away from their own climate-unfriendly practices.
John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis all died the same day. The following day, Doctor Who premiered.
The He-Gassen scroll of Edo period Japan depicts an epic battle… of farts.
The mysterious origins of black diamonds, the natural nuclear reactor in Gabon, the singing sand dunes, and blood rain from intercontinental cloud algae.
When United States deported thousands of US citizens to Mexico, when an Arizona town exiled 1,300 striking miners, when Bulgaria exiled the world’s last tsar, and the Soviet Union’s 101 kilometre exile.
Queen bees emerge from their cells with a war cry and proceed to murder competing queens. But when she’s old, she’ll either leave the hive or be killed by her own workers.
The Turkic sport kyz kuu involves a man, a woman, two horses, a kiss, and a whip.
Julius Caesar won the Siege of Alesia with a military tactic known as investment: build walls around the besieged settlement’s own walls, and and then build another layer of walls around those ones.
Walter E. Scott performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, scammed thousands of dollars with a fake gold mine, set a cross-country train speed record, and claimed to be building a castle in the midst of Death Valley.
Up until 1982, all crystals were believed to be, by definition, periodic. But then an Israeli materials scientist discovered something strange…