Monthly Archive: October 2013

Why A Lake In India Is Full Of Skeletons

In 1942, hundreds of skeletons were found in a lake located in the Himalayas. For over 60 years, nobody knew who they were or how they got wiped out. There were many theories surrounding this morbid enigma, and it wasn’t until 2004 when scientists concluded that a freak, brutal hailstorm was the culprit.

The Mob Boss Who Faked Insanity For Years

Vincent Gigante was an extremely paranoid mobster. Worried that authorities would discover he was the boss of the Genovese crime family, he faked insanity and was thus dubbed “The Oddfather.” His charade fell apart in 1997 when one of his men ratted him out, and Gigante spent the rest of his life in prison.

The Lost Document That Changed The Civil War

In September 1862, Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee drafted an order that detailed the movement of the Northern Virginia Army during its invasion of Maryland. The document has become known as Special Order 191. On September 13, 1862, Corporal Barton W. Mitchell of the 27th Indiana Volunteers happened upon a copy of the document near a campground. The Union Army then used the information to help predict the movements of the Confederates and gained a major advantage in the American Civil War.

Pandas Have The Digestive Systems Of Carnivores

Despite some confusion, tests have proven that the giant panda is genetically a bear (though scientists are still arguing about it). It also has a carnivore’s digestive system, designed for eating meat. However, in the wild, the panda feeds almost exclusively on bamboo. It manages to survive because it hosts an extraordinary set of microbes in its gut that breaks the plant material down.

The Man Who Had Sex With ‘Airwolf’

By all accounts, Washington State resident Edward Smith is an average sort of a guy with a not-so-average secret: He’s a mechanophile — someone who can only get turned on by vehicles. During his life, he’s had sex with over 1,000 cars, but that’s not his greatest achievement. His greatest achievement is that he once had sex with the helicopter from “Airwolf.”

The White Supremacists Who Laid Siege To A Town

The end of the American Civil War marked an era of unprecedented change for the Southern states. African-Americans went from being slaves to, you know, actual people seemingly overnight — and traditional Southerners didn’t like it. One result of the tension was a brutal massacre in Colfax, Louisiana, where white supremacists assaulted the town with a cannon and killed around 150 black men in 1873.

Lady Godiva Never Rode Anywhere Naked

The idea is certainly a romantic one. A beautiful woman, riding naked through a medieval town, sacrificing her own virtue and modesty to put a stop to her tyrannical husband’s persecution of the common folk. So romantic, in fact, that she has chocolates named after her in tribute to that famous ride — the ride that never happened.

White And Black Rhinos Are Actually The Same Color

What’s the difference between black and white rhinos? While they are distinct species, it’s not the color that sets them apart. They’re all found in Eastern and Southern Africa and are all some shade of gray. An English corruption of the Afrikaans word for “wide” may have caused one rhino to be dubbed “white,” with “black” used simply to differentiate the two species, but the origins of the terms are not historically agreed upon.

The Culture That Still Practices Cannibalism

The Korowai are a tribe of about 4,000 individuals living in the jungle of New Guinea, and they are the last confirmed group to practice cannibalism. To them, however, it’s not exactly cannibalism — it’s the revenge consumption of a demon that has taken the skin of a human and eaten another. The tribe has only recently begun to let outsiders close enough to get a look at their customs.