Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, occurs sometimes in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian gatherings. It is supposed to be the language of God – but what does it say?
One of the longest measurements of time appears in ancient Hindu scriptures: the mahā-kalpa, equal to 311.04 trillion years.
Behold the fabulous creatures of myth and legend! The dragon, the phoenix, the basilisk, the roc, the unicorn… and the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary?
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.
The Cloaca Maxima in Rome is one of the world’s first sewer systems. It still works today, and with good reason: it has its own goddess.
Some of the first public schools in North America were founded explicitly to counteract “that old deluder, Satan.”
By most modern interpretations, Islamic law forbids charging interest. So some modern banks have found ways to profitably lend money without it.
An urban legend from the late 1980s claimed that Soviet scientists had drilled so far down they hit hell – and brought back an audio recording of the suffering souls. But it was actually Baron Blood.
Some of the best beers in the world (according to aficionados) are also among the rarest beers in the world.
In 9th century CE France, a monk went undercover in a rival monastery for ten years to steal a holy relic.
The Church of One Tree in Santa Rosa, California, was built in 1873 out of a single giant redwood tree.
According to Jewish law, Shabbat begins at sundown. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. But what do you do if the sun does not set?
The Doubting Antiquity School were sceptics of ancient Chinese texts’ historical veracity… until the oracle bones were deciphered.
A Portuguese mercenary stole the largest working bell in history from Shwedagon Pagoda, and then lost it in the waters of the Yangon River.
The 19th century Scottish author Emily Gerard collected local legends about a school of black magic high in the mountains of Transylvania.
John Newton was a press-ganged sailor, a slave, a slave-ship captain, an Anglican priest, an abolitionist, and the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”