Monthly Archive: September 2013

The Fantastical Flight Of ‘Lawn Chair Larry’

In 1982, 33-year-old truck driver Larry Walters finally realized his dream of flying — by tying 42 weather balloons to a lawn chair and soaring 4,800 meters (16,000 ft) into the sky. After floating about 16 kilometers (10 mi), from San Pedro, California to Long Beach, he shot out some of the balloons with a pellet gun and landed safely, where he was promptly arrested.

Jimmy Stewart And The Yeti Hand Of Pangboche

The Pangboche Hand was a supposed artifact which was found in Nepal and purported to be from the yeti, or Abominable Snowman. Mountain climber Peter Byrne smuggled it out of the country with some help from his friend, famed actor Jimmy Stewart. DNA testing later revealed it to be a human hand, discrediting yet another claim of evidence for the yeti.

The Tragedy Of Audrey Munson, American Venus

Audrey Munson was known as the “American Venus,” a beautiful young woman who served as the model for over 20 different artists. In 1915, she had the dubious honor of being the first nude woman in a non-pornographic film. In 1919, she became involved in a murder scandal that ruined her career and destroyed her sanity.

Where Is The Panchen Lama?

In 1995, the Chinese government abducted the six-year-old Panchen Lama, an important figure in Tibetan Buddhism recognized by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of his predecessors. China then installed their own puppet figurehead in his place. Over 18 years later, the fate of the “youngest political prisoner in the world” remains unknown.

A Giant Swastika Was Hidden In A German Forest

A forest in Germany, not too far outside Berlin, had a group of larch trees planted, sometime during Hitler’s reign, among pines that formed a swastika when they changed color in the fall. They could only be seen from the air but not if you were too high, like in a commercial plane. Thus, they went unnoticed until the 1990s.

The Giant Catfish That Eat Humans

Truly enormous catfish stalk rivers worldwide, may feed on human bodies, and are also suspected of drowning live victims. In South America, a piraiba swallowed a fisherman and was found with the legs still sticking out, while goonch catfish accustomed to feeding on funeral corpses are accused of dragging two boys to their deaths. In Europe, suspicion rests on the potentially enormous wels catfish, with a human body found inside one individual.

The Men Who Jumped Off Mount Everest With A Paraglider

Some people aren’t merely content to climb Mount Everest; thousands have done that already. There have to be grander adventures. In April 2011, Babu Sunuwar, a kayaker, and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa, a mountaineer, not only conquered Everest but paraglided from its peak, then hiked and kayaked through some of the world’s most unforgiving territory to reach India’s Bay of Bengal in a trial that has been dubbed “The Ultimate Descent.”

The Doctor Who Rescued 6,500 Prematurely Born Babies

Before the widespread adoption of incubators in hospitals, many premature babies died without the support of the womb. Dr. Martin Couney, at his exhibit in Coney Island, had a number of incubators and many parents brought their children to him in order to save their lives. For over 40 years, Dr. Couney ran his incubators and saved at least 6,500 babies, including his own daughter.