Monthly Archive: February 2014

3,679

The Ancient, Cursed Ring Tolkien Studied At Oxford

Most Tolkien aficionados know that the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and grandfather of the high fantasy genre often used mythology and ancient languages as a source material for much of his work. While working as a professor at Pembroke College at Oxford, Tolkien was called upon to assist with an allegedly cursed ring that may have inspired the One Ring in his famous works.

8,287

The Bizarrely Severe Punishments For Committing Suicide

Suicide has long been deemed a mortal sin in God’s eyes, but that’s not the only way that those who take their own lives have been traditionally condemned. France’s Louis XIV made it a major offense to commit suicide, for which the accused would be put on trial and, if found guilty, dragged through the streets, hung by their feet, denied a proper burial and have their possessions confiscated. In England, the punishment was being dumped into a pit at a crossroads and having a stake driven through the body.

783

When The US And Al-Qaeda Fought On The Same Side

In 1978, Afghanistan’s moderate government was overthrown by a coalition of leftist military officers led by Nur Muhammad Taraki. Conservative Muslims did not approve. In 1979, the Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan to help Taraki’s government, but they were opposed by an unlikely coalition of Afghans, Al-Qaeda, Pakistanis, Saudi Arabians, and United States fighters.

9,676

The Difference Between Herbs And Spices

Although herbs and spices tend to be used interchangeably, they do have important differences. Herbs are only obtained from the leafy part of a plant while spices can come from any other part of the plant. Salt, even though widely used with food, is neither an herb nor a spice as it is an inorganic mineral.

1,037

Holland And The Netherlands Are Not The Same Thing

For centuries, it’s been very common for people all over the world to refer to the Netherlands—to the disdain of some of the Dutch—as “Holland.” It’s so common that some of you will be surprised to know that it’s wrong. The truth is Holland did exist hundreds of years ago. It was a beacon of knowledge and wealth in Europe, and it was so magnificent that it overshadows an entire nation to this day.

3,021

Some People Have Songs Permanently Stuck In Their Heads

Ever had a song stuck in your head? That’s unfortunate, but nothing compare to people suffering from musical hallucinations: They hear songs 24/7. Thanks to overactive auditory cortices, these folks are stuck with earworms that just won’t go away.

2,229

The Government Is Not Spraying Us From The Sky

“Chemtrail” is a name given to a stream emanating from aircraft in the air that is believed by many to be a secret chemical spraying program by the government. Although there are many varying reasons as to why we would be sprayed, conspiracy theories are normally confined to three main areas: weather modification, population control, and mass inoculation programs. There is no scientific evidence, however, to support any of these theories.

3,283

The Mysterious Man Who Claimed To Never Age

One of the strangest figures in history is The Count of Saint Germain. This man’s origins were never truly known. He was believed by many to be immortal and didn’t appear to age or eat. While some believe him to have died, others say he disappeared just as mysteriously, and some people still claim sightings of the alleged ageless man to this day.

3,788

The Truly Bizarre History Of Halloween

The practice of dressing up as spooky characters originated among the early Christian peoples of Western Europe, from the seventh century on, since they were celebrating the arrival of the recently deceased into Heaven or Hell on the next day. This implied for the living that the souls of everyone who had died in the past year had been wandering on Earth, and now, with one last chance before their consignation to eternal fire, the souls of bad people were going to have their own little Mardi Gras for one night.

9,614

The French Planned A Full-Size Decoy Of Paris In World War I

A nighttime raid by German bombers would have been devastating for Paris and its population. As a countermeasure, the French decided to build a scale replica of Paris 24 kilometers (15 mi) outside of the actual city. This plan wasn’t developed until the tail end of World War I, and went ultimately unfinished even though construction was begun.