Around the end of the 19th century, Melbourne, Australia, hosted one of the biggest – and certainly the most carnivalesque – bookstores in the world: Cole’s Book Arcade.
A large enough kite can lift someone off the ground. So, of course, several inventors and aeronauts tried to find a military application for such man-lifting kites.
Several mammals, including rodents and bears, hibernate over the cold winters. But at least one bird does so as well.
In the 1865 German children’s book Max and Moritz, the titular troublemakers blow up a teacher, are baked in an oven, and finally get ground up in a flour mill and eaten by ducks.
Beyond the boundaries of the natural elements may lie a whole new form of matter without protons or neutrons: quark matter. [2 of 2]
In 1869, some samurai and their families set up a colony in California. Although it only lasted two years, it was the first permanent Japanese settlement in the United States.
Before we knew about plate tectonics, a zoologist proposed a lost continent connecting Madagascar and India across the Indian Ocean. That hypothesis, now debunked, was nevertheless picked up by Theosophists and Tamil revivalists.
From 1681 to 1838, performances of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy King Lear had a happy ending.
The border between Belgium and the Netherlands at Baarle-Hertog is one of the messiest in the world. It includes bits of Belgium in the Netherlands, and bits of the Netherlands in the bits of Belgium that are in the Netherlands.
Cliffhangers have been a staple of serialised fiction for centuries, but the first literal cliffhanger appears in an 1873 novel by Thomas Hardy.
On May 10, 1849, New Yorkers rioted over who was the better Shakespearean actor, the English performer William Macready or the American Edwin Forrest.
There are few pubs in the world that can claim to be the site of the founding of a religious denomination, the creation of a style of beer, and also a murder by a famous gangster. But there’s at least one pub that can.
In 1947, the British navy set off one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history in an attempt to destroy German military fortifications on Heligoland.
People with central hypoventilation syndrome, also known as Ondine’s curse, can forget to breathe.
In 1822 a white stork landed in Klütz, then a town of the German Confederation, and finally unlocked the secret of where the birds go in winter.
Going from house to house singing Christmas carols is a long-held tradition. But what if the wassailers turn up with a goat or a horse’s head? And what if they take you with them?