12 Shimmering Bits of Trivia We Found Carefully Stacked on the Golden Scales in One-Eyed Willy’s Den
Long story short, we were trundling around this underground cavern with a bunch of other filthy local kids, when we found a pirate ship filled with treasure. We already loaded up on the good stuff, but we figured we’d leave these 12 trivia tidbits here on the scales where we found them. Just feels like they belong to Willy, ya know?
Anyway, we’re not gonna touch the things, but you’re welcome to grab ‘em if you want. Just give us a head start.
Contender for Most Badass Australian of All Time
Jock McLaren was a middle-aged veterinarian when he signed up to fight in World War II. He broke out of two different enemy prison camps, traveled 270 miles through the Pacific Ocean in a hollowed-out log and removed his own appendix deep inside a Philippine jungle island.
Pompeiians May Have Had Advance Warning of the Eruption — They Just Ignored It
Lots of bizarre natural phenomena were reportedly going on in the days leading up to the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius: streams and wells boiled away, rats fled the city — not to mention the earthquakes and groaning noises coming from the volcano.
Some Birds Screen Each Other for STDs
As part of their mating ritual, the female great bustard will peck at the male’s cloaca, checking for signs of bacteria she might contract if they were to bone. In preparation for this, the male will eat a mouthful of poisonous blister beetles to make himself explosively shit out everything inside of him, to make damn sure his cloaca is clear of any parasites. Learning the exact wrong lesson from this, some humans have decided that blister beetles are aphrodisiacs.
Americans Built a Fort on the Wrong Side of the Border
At the height of naval tensions between America and British Canada in the early 1800s, President James Monroe had a fort built in Lake Champlain. When construction was already well underway, they realized they were almost a mile inside of enemy territory, and swiftly scampered off to a safer island. The fort hadn’t yet been named, so they referred to it as Fort Blunder.
Larry Hankin Got His Start in Porn
One of his first roles was as a government agent in a 1977 film about a spy who infiltrates a den of pervs. Sadly, he doesn’t do any of the boning. Happily, we know his porn alias: Lance Hunt.
Kentucky’s Duct-Tape Bandit
A Kentucky man tried to rob a liquor store, wrapping his face in duct tape and pulling his shirt over his head like Cornholio. That’s not a super intimidating look, so the owner chased him out of the store and wrestled him to the ground. When cops came, he tried to convince them they had the wrong guy.
A Guy Was Sentenced to Death Twice for the Same Crime
Master Sergeant Timothy Hennis was convicted of the murder of a mother and her two children in 1986, and sentenced to death. In 1989, he got a retrial, and because DNA evidence was still relatively new, he was acquitted. In 2007, he was retried, and DNA evidence this time pinned him squarely at the scene. But how was he able to be tried for the same crime twice? Since he was still in the Army, he was tried the second time under a military court martial.
Roald Dahl Had a Messed-Up Childhood
His father and sister died weeks apart, and he was in a car crash that sent him flying through the windshield and literally cut his nose off. He was also violently caned for winning a prank war with a local candy shop owner, who watched, cackling, during his punishment. Could be what scrambled his brains and turned him anti-Semitic!
Houdini’s Final Letter Was a Spoiler for One of His Tricks
A few months before he died, Houdini pulled off a ballsy stunt to discredit a competing magician who had claimed to use magic to survive underwater for 91 minutes. Houdini recreated the trick to show everyone that “magic” is just extreme preparation and detailed logistics. He tried the same trick twice — chilling underwater in a safe for 91 minutes — before finally nailing it the third time (and then boasting to his buddy about it).
The United Arab Emirates Wants to Build a Mountain
The UAE government has floated the idea of creating a human-made mountain to stimulate rainfall by creating new cloud patterns. It’s a scientifically sound theory. But it’s also possible that messing with the weather will have the opposite effect, and make their droughts even worse.
Lord Lucan on the Run
Richard John Bingham, the 7th Earl of Lucan, was in a heated custody battle with his wife in 1974. One day, he hid in their basement and attempted to murder his wife with a lead pipe — only he murdered the nanny by mistake. He freaked out, skipped town and was never confirmed to have been found. Sightings of him were reported from all over the world, and though he was legally declared dead in 1999, the most promising lead yet came in 2020, with the discovery of a mysterious retiree living in an Australian Buddhist commune. His wife believed he in fact threw himself into a river directly after the murder, saying he “was not the sort of Englishman to cope abroad.”
NASA Pulled a Men in Black on Astronaut Leland Melvin
While on a mission, Melvin says he saw something “translucent, curved and organic-looking” outside of the craft. He called up NASA back on the ground, and they insisted it was excess ice from a freon hose. He’s since tweeted about it, so he’s still trying to get to the bottom of this thing.