Monthly Archive: March 2014

Zambia’s (Often Overlooked) Space Program

If you think that the United States and the Soviet Union were the only ones racing to be the first into space, clearly you’re forgetting about Edward Makuka Nkoloso and his Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. With only a homemade catapult and a rocket made from copper and aluminum, Nkoloso had big dreams of putting his country on the map with a manned spaceflight to the moon, then Mars.

Krampus: Santa’s Evil Counterpart

When we think of Christmas, we think of snow white hills, crackling fires, brightly wrapped presents, the scent of pine and turkey—all warm and happy thoughts. However, it is not so with all Christmas symbols. Whereas kindly, round-bellied, jolly ole St. Nick distributes treats and toys to all the good children, the horn-bearing and fanged Krampus whips children with birch sticks and hauls them down to his underworld lair. Condemned by the Catholic Church for many years, Krampus the Christmas Devil (the son of the Norse God Hel) is making quite the comeback not only in Europe but in the US as well.

Coco Chanel Was A Nazi Spy And Recruiter

Even if you don’t know anything about fashion, you either have a little black dress or you’ve admired someone wearing one. That was one of the creations of fashion icon Coco Chanel, who established a fashion empire in France during the years before World War II. Once thought of as someone who self-sufficiently co-existed with the Nazi party, documents have now shed light on the idea that Chanel was actually not only an anti-Semite and lover of a high-ranking Nazi officer, but that she was actively working to recruit others to the Third Reich.

The Strange Truth About The Earliest Cannibals In History

Cannibalism is one of those cringe-worthy practices that we all hope to avoid, even if we can sometimes understand why people are forced to do it to survive. However, researchers have found that the earliest common ancestor of both modern humans and Neanderthals were cannibals just because they wanted to be. They had plenty of access to other meat, but still regularly ate the flesh of rival families. Cannibalism was also practiced by Neanderthals, but more often it was out of necessity.

The Black Tulip: The Best Fighter Pilot That Ever Lived

There can’t be many people that have never heard of the famous Manfred Von Richthofen (The Red Baron), the German ace who shot down 80 planes in World War I. In World War II, however, a German pilot by the name of Erich Hartmann shot down 352 planes. By contrast, the nearest German pilot in that war had around 300 kills, the nearest non-German pilot had 94 kills, and the nearest Allied pilot had around 65 kills. Surprisingly he survived the war as well as 10 years of hard labor in Siberia, dying on December 20, 1993.

‘Dead Hand,’ Russia’s Terrifying Doomsday Device

During the Cold War, Russia created a fail-safe device for their nuclear weapons arsenal to ensure a second strike capability even if all command and control were to be destroyed. The system (code-named Dead Hand) utilized seismic, light, radioactivity, and pressure sensors to detect an incoming nuclear attack and retaliate if necessary. The best part? The system is almost certainly still operational.

The Ancient Christian Cult Of Suicidal, Daredevil Martyrs

Cults are weird things, and Christian cults are absolutely no exception. In the fourth and fifth centuries, a Christian cult called the Circumcellions roamed Northern Africa, killing, torturing, pillaging, and burning, all in the name of Christianity. And when they were done with that, they would either commit suicide or attack an innocent person to goad them into killing them, making them a martyr and securing their place in heaven.

The Bizarre Greek Theory About The Solar System

According to the first fully constructed and explained theory that involved the Earth revolving around something else in a regular orbit, our planet was part of a solar system that also included a mysterious Counter-Earth that existed opposite to us and would never be seen. There was also a moon that was inhabited by massive, beautiful lunar animals, and a sun that reflected the light from a Central Fire, giving us heat and light without burning us in the blinding rays of the fire Prometheus stole from the gods.

The Mysterious And Deadly Money Pit Of Nova Scotia

Oak Island is situated in the Mahone Bay of the south shore of Canada, and houses one of the biggest unsolved mysteries Planet Earth has to offer. Famously known as the Money Pit, this particular spot on island has attracted countless people toward it in the hope of solving the mystery. Some say it’s a buried treasure, some that it’s the Holy Grail itself, but whenever they try to dig in to find out, the pit floods itself and blocks further access to the secret inside, occasionally killing the people involved. Attempts usually come to a halt after people die or the party runs out of money, but the mystery is still alive for whoever wants to go and give it a try.

The Papier-Mache Mummy That Fooled Everyone

In the early 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History was the recipient of a generous donation of artifacts, including what was said to be an authentic Egyptian mummy. It was displayed as such for decades, until a medical student asked for permission to examine it more closely for a university project. He found it was actually made of papier-mache and some animal bones stuck on a wooden frame.