Antimony Pill

An Antimony pill is a pill made from metallic antimony. It was a popular remedy in the nineteenth century, and it was used to purge and revitalise the bowels. In use, it is swallowed and allowed to pass through the body, after which it is customarily recovered for reuse, giving rise to the name everlasting pill.

Link

Project A119

Project A119, also known as “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”, was a top-secret plan developed in 1958 by the United States Air Force. The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon.

Link

Shizo Kanakuri

He accepted and completed the marathon in 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, remarking, “It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren.”

Link

The Goiânia Accident

On September 18, Alves sold the items to a nearby scrapyard. That night, Devair Alves Ferreira (the owner of the scrapyard) noticed the blue glow from the punctured capsule. Thinking the capsule’s contents were valuable or even supernatural, he immediately brought it into his house. Over the next three days, he invited friends and family to view the strange glowing substance.

Link

Mad Gasser of Mattoon

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon (also known as the “Anesthetic Prowler”, Friz, the “Phantom Anesthetist”, the “Mad Gasser of Roanoke”, or simply the “Mad Gasser”) was the name given to the person or people believed to be responsible for a series of apparent gas attacks that occurred in Botetourt County, Virginia, during the early 1930s, and in Mattoon, Illinois, during the mid-1940s.

Link

Jugaad

Jugaad (alternatively Juggaar) is a colloquial Hindi and Punjabi word, which has various meanings depending on the situation. Roughly translated, jugaad is a “hack”. It could also refer to an innovative fix or a simple work-around, a solution that bends the rules, or a resource that can be used in such a way. It is also often used to signify creativity—to make existing things work, or to create new things with meager resources.

Link

Francine Gottfried

Francine Gottfried (born 1947) was a clerical worker in New York City’s Financial District who acquired sudden brief celebrity when, in the space of two weeks in September 1968, increasing numbers of men began watching her as she walked to work. Newspapers dubbed her “Wall Street’s Sweater Girl” as her curvaceous figure seemed to be the sole reason that crowds formed spontaneously around her whenever she appeared in the financial district.

Link

Cyberchondria

Cyberchondria, otherwise known as ‘compucondria’, the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on review of search results and literature online.

Link

Sokushinbutsu

Sokushinbutsu (即身仏) refers to a practice of Buddhist monks observing austerity to the point of death and entering mummification while alive. This process of self-mummification was mainly practiced in Yamagata in Northern Japan between the 11th and 19th century, by members of the Japanese Vajrayana school of Buddhism called Shingon (“True Word”). The practitioners of sokushinbutsu did not view this practice as an act of suicide, but rather as a form of further enlightenment.

Link

The Seven Lady Godivas

The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family is a picture book of the tale of Lady Godiva, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss.

Link

Ferdinand Cheval

“It’s a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature.  I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture”

Link

Ship Of Theseus

The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus’ paradox, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.

Link

Signifyin’

Signifyin’ (sometime written “signifyin(g)”) (vernacular), is a form of wordplay. It is a practice in African-American culture involving a verbal strategy of indirection that exploits the gap between the denotative and figurative meanings of words. A simple example would be insulting someone to show affection. Other names for signifyin’ include: “Dropping lugs, joaning, sounding, capping, snapping, dissing, busting, bagging, janking, ranking, toasting, woofing, putting on, or cracking.”

Link

The Wise Men of Gotham

According to the 1874 edition of Blount’s Tenures of Land, King John’s messengers “found some of the inhabitants engaged in endeavouring to drown an eel in a pool of water; some were employed in dragging carts upon a large barn, to shade the wood from the sun; others were tumbling their cheeses down a hill, that they might find their way to Nottingham for sale; and some were employed in hedging in a cuckoo which had perched upon an old bush”

Link

The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars

The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars was a turf war in the East End of Glasgow in Scotland in the 1980s between rival criminal organisations selling drugs and stolen goods from ice cream vans.

The conflicts generated widespread public outrage, and earned the Strathclyde Police the nickname the “serious chimes squad” (a pun on Serious Crime Squad) for its perceived failure to address them.

Link

Quipu

Quipus, sometimes known as khipus or talking knots, were recording devices historically used in a number of cultures and particularly in the region of Andean South America.

Link

Incroyables and Merveilleuses

Many public balls were bals des victimes at which young aristocrats who had lost loved ones to the guillotine danced in mourning dress or wore black armbands, greeting one another with violent movements of the head as if in decapitation. A ball held at the Hôtel Thellusson on the rue de Provence in the 9th arrondissement of Paris restricted its guest list to the grown children of the guillotined.

Link

Groom of the Stool

The Groom of the Stool (formally styled: “Groom of the King’s Close Stool”) was the most intimate of an English monarch’s courtiers, responsible for assisting the king in the performance of the bodily functions of excretion and ablution.

The physical intimacy of the role naturally led to him becoming a man in whom much confidence was placed by his royal master and with whom many royal secrets were shared as a matter of course. This secret information—whilst it would never have been revealed, to the discredit of his honour—in turn led to him becoming feared and respected and therefore powerful within the royal court in his own right.

Link

Inverted Totalitarianism

In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.

Link

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

Rokeach brought together three men who each claimed to be Jesus Christ and confronted them with one another’s conflicting claims.  While initially the three patients quarreled over who was holier and reached the point of physical altercation, they eventually each explained away the other two as being patients with a mental disability in a hospital, or dead and being operated by machines.

Link