The tarasque is a famous dragon of medieval French folklore. It burned its victims with fire, but the fire did not come from its mouth. Quite the opposite.
Cats hold a special place in Islam, reaching back as far as Muhammad’s own love of the animals.
On a theatre stage in the middle of the night, one light remains lit. It’s there to appease old ghosts… or prevent accidents that would make new ghosts.
In 1245 CE a letter from Pope Innocent IV travelled 7000km to Güyük Khan (Genghis’ grandson) demanding peace. The letter back from the Great Khan was… not friendly.
In classical Jewish tradition, the Messianic Age – a thousand years of peace and harmony – must begin no later than 220 years from now: the Hebrew Year 6000.
The Kāma Sūtra suggests that lovers learn cryptography.
The first author whose name we know was Enheduanna. Daughter of Sargon the Great, she wrote religious hymns, so she can also lay claim to being the first named poet in history.
In Norse mythology Fimbulwinter is the great winter immediately preceding Ragnarök. It may have been inspired by the horrifying real-life events of 536 CE.
In Psychomachia, one of the most popular poems of Medieval Europe, the personifications of Christian virtues fight the vices in a bloodthirsty battle royale. Decapitation, strangulation, squished eyeballs, vomiting bloody teeth…
The Vatican City has the shortest national railway line in the world, but it almost had none at all.
In Myanmar you can drink tea or you can eat it.
Christianity was banned in Japan in 1614. For the next 250 years, the Kakure Kirishitan (hidden Christians) worshipped in secret.
Beginning in 1976 a pseudoscientific pamphlet spread like wildfire across Europe, stating that many common food additives caused cancer – including cellulose and citric acid.
It’s our 400th post! In most religions originating in the Middle East, the number 40 equals a large unspecific number: 40 days, 40 nights, 40 years should all be interpreted as “many” days, nights, or years.
Tents appear outside a town in early 20th century rural United States. It’s not the circus, it’s the circuit chautauqua: teachers, preachers, musicians, and orators, ready to bring education and religion to the masses.