Monthly Archive: March 2014

The Illegal Chinese Wine Made From Tiger Bones

Despite a complete ban on trade in anything made from the big cats, China has a vibrant trade in wine and spirits made using tiger bones. The tiger parts are soaked in the liquid for a period of time, and the resulting liquid is sold for hundreds of dollars per bottle. In some secret auctions, the more expensive crates can go for over $30,000. The trade is supplied by tiger farms, and there are currently around 5,000 tigers being kept in captivity for this reason. The farms are officially tourist attractions, but the big cats end up being slaughtered, with their meat sold as food and their bones going to the drinks trade.

The Everlasting Color Of Human Sacrifice

Maya blue is one of the few dye pigments that has survived almost 15 centuries. The blue color, long a mystery to scientists and chemists, has finally had another piece of its creation decoded: dehydroindigo. The chemical makeup probably mattered little to the people who created it, though, as the color had a major religious significance and was used to paint the naked bodies of human sacrifices before their hearts were torn from their chests.

MLKJ Was Almost Assassinated 10 Years Early

In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was performing a book signing in a Harlem book store. He was confronted by one Izola Curry, a 42-year-old mentally ill black woman. She stabbed him with a letter opener and came so close to killing him instantly that the blade was against his aorta. It was later determined that if King had so much as sneezed after the stabbing it might have killed him. True to form, he said of it “I think she needs help.”

How Columbus Silently Devastated Europe

Christopher Columbus and his men are credited for bringing a lot of wonderful things back to Europe from the New World. It’s long been up for debate on whether or not they brought back one thing that, for so many, negated all the good. Now, evidence suggests that the sailors did, in fact, bring syphilis back to Europe; when they did, they unleashed a plague of rotting, festering flesh.

The Murderous Mystery Of The Disappearing Jet Pack

As part of the celebration of the Houston Rockets winning the 1995 NBA championship, test pilot Bill Suitor flew a jet pack from a barge to the shore in the Houston Ship Channel. That was the only public flight of the Rocket Belt 2000. The belt was in the possession of Brad Barker. But two of the original investors, Larry Stanley and Joe Wright, had fallen out with Barker and wanted the belt back. They sued, but days before the case went to court Wright was beaten to death on his doorstep. Barker was the prime suspect, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone. A judge found in Stanley’s favor, but Barker refused to reveal the jet pack’s whereabouts. So Stanley took Barker hostage and locked him in a small box for eight days, and threatened to drown him. Barker escaped, Stanley was jailed, and the whereabouts of the RB-2000 remains unknown.

The Skies Were Actually Red In ‘The Scream’

Even those of us who have only a passing association with art are familiar with the tortured, almost alien-like figure screaming at the viewer against a blood-red sky in Edvard Munch’s The Scream. It’s the stuff of nightmares, and probably came from what the artist himself was looking at. The unnatural color of the sky was no coincidence; that unearthly sky really did look that way in 1883 after the eruption of Krakatoa.

The Craziest Car Chase In Texas History

Bobby and Ila Fae Dent weren’t exactly criminal masterminds. When a police officer tried to pull them over for a minor issue, they decided to make a run for it. Things went from bad to worse when the couple kidnapped a Texas state trooper named Kenneth Crone and sparked the craziest car chase in Texas history.