Monthly Archive: September 2014

The Corpse That Hung By An English Road For 36 Years

Thieves and highwaymen were rampant in 18th-century England, and when they were caught they often faced the hangman’s noose. That was the case with Spence Broughton, sentenced to hang for robbing a mail carriage. That wasn’t the end of him, though, and his body was put on display for the next 36 years. His body was finally removed and buried at the request of landlords sick of tourists coming to look at him.

The Woman Who Built Dollhouse Murder Scenes

Frances Glessner Lee wasn’t your typical millionaire heiress. Obsessed with forensic science and homicide investigation, this eccentric lady devoted her time and money to building elaborately detailed miniature murder scenes. Only this wasn’t just some macabre hobby. Glessner Lee used her grisly dollhouses to teach detectives and medical examiners how to search for clues.

The Tick That Can Make You Allergic To Meat

Vegans and vegetarians aside, everyone loves a nice juicy steak. Unfortunately, there are close to 1,500 people in the US who can’t enjoy a T-bone due to a nasty critter known as the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum). This arachnid packs a powerful bite, and for some mysterious reason, infects its human hosts with a dangerous allergy to red meat.

The Incredibly Odd ‘Lady Macbeth Effect’

Have you ever done something, shall we say, unethical? Did you feel the need to wash your hands? Researchers call this compulsion the “Lady Macbeth Effect,” and believe it or not, it actually exists outside of Shakespeare. Thanks to a strange slate of tests, researchers have determined the Lady Macbeth Effect is quite real . . . and might even make us horrible people.

The Difference Between Hoarding And Collecting

Between 700,000 and 1.4 million people in the United States alone have issues with hoarding, and the difference between hoarding and collecting is largely how a person feels about their surroundings. Collectors are proud of their items and display them, while hoarders keep their possessions because they can’t bear to throw them away, even though they’re ashamed. They feel anxious whenever anyone asks them about getting rid of things and, unlike collectors, there’s often an element of disorganization to their stash.

You’ll Never Guess Australia’s Second-Deadliest Animal

If we know anything about Australia, it’s that it wants us dead. From box jellyfish to crocodiles to deadly funnel-web spiders, it seems everything in Oz has been lifted straight from H.R. Giger’s nightmares. But when scientists decided to rank Australia’s fauna by number of deaths per year, they got a surprise. The second most murderous animal wasn’t a snake, shark, or jellyfish, but the common honeybee.

The Hag Of Misery: Wickedest Woman In New York

Madame Restell was a notorious 19th-century purveyor of birth control powders and pills and, when those didn’t work, of abortions. In spite of having no real medical background, she built up quite the empire before being targeted by anti-choice, anti-porn legislator Anthony Comstock. Facing another trial and realizing she was fighting a losing battle, she ultimately committed suicide instead of going back to jail for violating new anti-abortion laws.

The Order To Burn Italy’s Greatest Poet Wasn’t Rescinded Until 2008

Dante may well be the greatest poet in history. As the author of the Divine Comedy, he inspired everyone from Giovanni Boccaccio to T.S. Eliot, while also creating our modern trope of Hell’s “ironic punishments.” However, he was less well thought of in his lifetime. In 1302, he was exiled from Florence under penalty of being burned at the stake. It wasn’t until 2008 that the city finally rescinded this order.

The Strange Story Of Henry Heimlich

You’ve probably don’t know Henry Heimlich, but you definitely know the life-saving maneuver that bears his name. Without a doubt, the man has saved thousands of lives around the world. However, Henry Heimlich’s story is incredibly complex, and future generations might remember him as a nut who did more harm than good.

The Incredibly Crazy Novels Of Karl May

Karl May was the J.K. Rowling of his era. This 19th-century author penned over 80 novels, many of them Westerns, which still capture the imagination of German readers to this day. He was also a thief, a liar, and a conman of Catch Me If You Can proportions who convinced an entire nation that his books were actually autobiographies.