12 Mostly Jolly Bit of Trivia We Found Inhabiting This Old Cottage in the Woods When Led There by a Host of Woodland Creatures
These cheeky devils have become our best friends, ever since we were taken deep into the woods by the Queen’s huntsman and banished from the kingdom. They all have their own unique personalities — there’s a dopey one about rival gangs of undercover cops who almost killed each other, a bashful one about the legality of selling a haunted house in New Jersey, even a sneezy one about the addictive chemical in eggplants. But one thing they all have in common is that they’re just so gosh darn jolly! Except for one, who is explicitly an asshole, for whatever reason.
Anyway, we trust these bits of trivia with our lives, and we’re certain they’d never do something insane like, say, stand around and passively watch a monarch kiss us on the mouth while we’re sleeping.
Two Gangs of Undercover Cops Got in a Huge Brawl and Tried to Arrest Each Other
In 2017, a group of undercover cops tried to arrest a group of drug dealers — who claimed that they too were undercover cops. Nobody believed each other, and over two dozen cops got in a huge brawl. The police chief said, “This is probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in this department.” How could something be more embarrassing? A similar incident happened in the 1980s, and two cops died.
It’s Illegal to Murder the Planet (in Norway Only)
In 2020, Norway committed to no longer awarding government contracts to companies that rely on supply chains that are Brazilian-waxing the rainforests. It’s the first deforestation ban in the world.
Netflix Didn’t Bother to Use a Fake Phone Number for ‘Squid Game’
A number shown on screen multiple times belonged to a South Korean businesswoman, who said, “There are more than 4,000 numbers that I’ve had to delete from my phone.” Netflix has since edited offending scenes, asked fans to pretty please stop calling her, and may have offered her a paltry $4,000 apology.
The ‘Oldest Man in Tokyo’ Was Actually Dead for 30 Years
In 2010, Japanese authorities wanted to award Tokyo resident Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, but were told by his granddaughter that he “doesn’t want to see anybody.” That may have been true, because when police finally broke in, they found his mummified remains in his bed.
Four States Have Rules on the Books for Selling a Haunted House
Massachusetts, New Jersey and Minnesota say you don’t have to actively disclose any paranormal activity, but you do have to answer honestly if asked. A judge in New York made a similar ruling after a high-profile case in the 1980s: an out-of-towner learned they’d bought a haunted house, and backed out of the deal. Now, if a seller likes to brag that their house is haunted, they have to make sure that any potential buyer is well aware of the paranormal activity.
New Zealand Had a Municipal Wizard on the Payroll for Decades
Comedian and wizard Ian Brackenbury Channell cut his teeth in the 1970s, doing pro-bono wizardry (yelling about weird shit) in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. The authorities tried to arrest him, but he proved to be so popular, they instead changed the law to make whatever weird shit he was doing legal. He became a popular tourist attraction, and from 1998 to 2021 the city paid him $16,000 a year to “provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services.”
The Inventor of Chewing Gum Was Maybe Trying to Just End It All
Thomas Adams had been toiling away with the sap of a South American tree, trying to create an alternative rubber. After many failed attempts, he just kind of shoved some in his mouth, and realized it was actually fun to chew on.
A Principal Ignored Robin Williams’ Wise Words (But Was More Than Happy to Show Off His Autograph)
Lisa Jakub, who played Williams’ oldest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, was kicked out of school for missing too many days while filming the movie. Williams wrote a heartfelt plea to reinstate her, saying “a student of her calibre and talent should be encouraged to go out in the world and learn through her work” and to “return to the classroom when she’s done to share those experiences and motivate her classmates to soar to their own higher achievements.” They wouldn’t let her back in school, but the principal reportedly framed the letter and hung it on his wall.
Al Capone: Dairy Pioneer
Capone is the reason expiration dates are printed on milk cartons. Supposedly, he lobbied for the practice after a relative of his got sick from drinking expired milk. The real reason is probably more capitalistic: He had all the equipment necessary to bottle liquids (and to print on those bottles), and as prohibition came to an end, he wanted to keep the cash flowing.
Someone Scammed a Brazilian Banker Into Paying $242 Million for a Fake Airport
Emmanuel Nwude Odinigwe pulled off the third-largest banking scam in history, when he posed as a Nigerian banking official and convinced a Brazilian bank director to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of four years for an airport that doesn’t exist.
The Stethoscope Was Invented by a Doctor Who Didn’t Want to Touch a Woman
René Laennec was a hyper-religious French doctor and musician. He was great at carving his own wooden flutes, and used that skill to his professional advantage one day when he didn’t want to touch his ear to a woman’s chest. He carved a wooden tube as an intermediary, and found he was able to detect her heartbeat without any skin-to-skin contact on his horny little ears.
Don’t Have a Cigarette? Eat 20 Eggplants!
Eggplants contain about 100 nanograms of nicotine per gram. Consuming 20,000 grams of eggplant would get you to the 2 milligrams of nicotine in a standard cigarette.