Princess Anne and Prince Ludwig of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg liked flying and spying, respectively. Both disappeared under mysterious and separate circumstances.
On September 17, 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States. He would reign for 21 years.
The idea of the tractor beam first appeared in fiction in 1931. Since then, scientists have worked to make it a reality… and they’ve actually had some success.
According to several accounts, in 1803 a tiny boat with transparent windows washed up on the shores of Japan. Inside, one woman and one big mystery.
The 19th century had many different cue sports, like everlasting pool and scratch pool. Life pool, one of the ancestors of snooker, gave each player three ‘lives’ which other players could eliminate until only one was left standing.
Propaganda is ages old, but the 20th and 21st centuries have given it a set of new tricks.
King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden really wanted a big ship so he could dominate the Baltic. The Vasa was one of the most heavily armed ships in the world when it launched in 1628. But the same day it launched, it sank.
We’ve all heard of the Dead Sea, so salty that people naturally float in it. But the Gaet’ale Pond in Ethiopia is saltier, and the Don Juan Pond in Antarctica is so salty that it doesn’t freeze, even at -50°C.
The Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia is the site of the oldest shoe, and also the oldest winery, in the world.
Around five million years ago, the Strait of Gibraltar closed and the Mediterranean dried up. When it reopened, the sea refilled in less than two years.
Jagannath, the deity from whom we get the word juggernaut, receives offerings of food from the world’s largest kitchen.
The 1597 piece My Lord Chamberlain, His Galliard is a lute duet. The piece is played by two people, but they must only use one lute.
You can search for gold the easy way, with a pan or a pickaxe. Or you could examine the local Eucalyptus trees. This is geobotanical and biogeochemical prospecting.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were two of the biggest stars of silent film. They didn’t appear in a film together until 1952, and that film didn’t win an Academy Award until 1973.
In 1944 a graduate student wrote a parody of technical writing that has entered engineering folklore: the turboencabulator.