12 Mystical Bits of Trivia We Sealed Inside This Ornate Gilded Chest, and Melted the Face Off of the Last Guy Who Opened It
No spoilers or anything, but when we say these trivia tidbits are powerful? We’re not messin’ around. They literally burned away every layer of tissue on the head of the traitorous Nazi sympathizer who last tried to gaze upon them. Do they do that to everyone who tries to read them, or was he just unworthy? If it’s the latter, are you sure that you’re worthy? You’re welcome to give it a try!
A Restauranteur Hired a Fake Priest to Get Confessions Out of Employees
A California taco chain owner hired a guy to pose as a priest, so his co-workers would snitch on themselves. He was ordered to pay $70,000 in damages to his employees.
A Cop Pulled a Gun on Another Cop Over ‘Top Gun: Maverick Spoilers’
When an Australian cop told his co-worker he was going to spoil the movie, the guy responded, “Don’t spoil the movie… I’ll shoot you,” and pulled out his gun. His lawyer initially described it as “skylarking and tomfoolery,” but the defendant ultimately pled guilty to “carrying a firearm with disregard for the complainant’s safety.”
Birds Keep Flocking to This One Village in India to Die
Always in a very specific window — between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., from September to October — various species of birds will haul ass to one specific patch of land in the village of Jatinga, where they promptly die. It’s thought that they get riled up by a sudden monsoon wind, and are attracted by the village lights. While often referred to as mass “bird suicide,” they’re more likely being killed — reportedly, local tribes (understandably) mistook this screeching cloud of monsters for demons at first, and killed them with huge bamboo poles.
The Flying Dutchman Is an Optical Illusion
Fata Morgana is a host of visual phenomena that occur in a narrow band of light near the horizon. It causes an object’s appearance to constantly morph in several different ways: It can appear above the horizon, dip down into the land or water, lose its color and appear translucent, even appear upside-down. Apply all that to an ocean-faring vessel, in a time when the Dutch East India Company was fucking everywhere, and you got yourself a gravity-defying Netherlandic ghost ship.
Big Tobacco Failed to Market a Less-Lethal Cigarette
Before handheld vapes were a viable technology, cigarette company R.J. Reynolds spent $1 billion developing a “smokeless cigarette.” It contained an aluminum pellet that heated the tobacco, creating almost no smoke, and making it markedly less deadly than a traditional cig. But there was no way to communicate that without admitting that cigarettes are deadly in the first place, so they dropped the idea of not murdering their customers entirely.
The Electrochemical Battery Belt to Fix Your Dingy
In the 1800s, fake doctors sold an obscene amount of these water-based battery belts that promised to fix all kinds of torso ailments with the power of electricity. The premium models included a horrifying little noose to stick your junk in. Specific brands included Dr. Pierce’s Galvanic Chain Belt, and the OG: Isaac Lewis Pulvermacher’s Hydro-Electric Chain.
A Misplaced Key Could Have Averted the Titanic Disaster
Of course, there are tons of individual things that might have altered the fate of the Titanic. But one of the smallest details that made a huge difference was the key to a box containing binoculars. The decision was made to sub in a more experienced second officer at the last minute, but the swap meant that lookout Fred Fleet was never given the key to the binocs box. He says he would have absolutely spotted the iceberg with the proper equipment.
We’re Pretty Lucky Hitler Didn’t Like Biological Warfare
Hitler declared that bioweapon research was off-limits. Being Nazis, his scientists did the research anyway, and had a whole host of viable methods of attacking America and its allies. We could have been simultaneously attacked by typhoid, cholera, anthrax and potato beetles, and we’re not totally clear on why Hitler didn’t want to.
The Word ‘Villain’ Didn’t Always Mean ‘Rich Bad Guy in Charge of Lesser Bad Guys’
It originally meant “servant” — specifically, one who was unable or not allowed to leave the confines of a particular villa. Over time, that became associated with poverty and the lower classes, which in turn were associated with evil, or “villainy.”
Russia Called Emo a National Security Threat
The 2008 Government Strategy in the Sphere of Spiritual and Ethical Education was an effort to cobble together legislation banning emo kids and skinheads — they thought these subcultures were roughly the same thing — which they thought were rotting the brains of their youth. One representative said, “The point of the bill is so that by 2020, Moscow will have someone to rule its government.” So mission accomplished, I guess.
Shrek Was Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Revenge on Disney
Earlier in his career, Katzenberg was fired from Disney by Michael Eisner. In retrospect, the cynical riffs on Disney IP and theme parks in Shrek are a pretty emotionally loaded parody. It’s also been pointed out that Lord Farquad looks suspiciously similar to Eisner.
Ulysses S. Grant Was a Never-Nude
During the Civil War, his men noticed he would only bathe alone, in a sealed-up tent. In his 60s, he bragged that no one had seen him fully nude since he was a little kid — including his two wives, with whom he’d had kids (and therefore, sex). We’re left to believe that he had denim cutoffs under his clothes at all times.