12 Festive Bits of Trivia You Can Click on Once per Day Like a Dorky Little Advent Calendar
Here’s the deal: This article is packed to the gills with awesome little morsels of trivia. But you can only read one per day, capisce? We’ll know if you cheat. And more importantly, you’ll know if you cheat.
The Controversial 1904 Olympic Marathon Results
The guy who crossed the finish line first, Fred Lorz, was later found to have driven a large part of the course in a car (which he tried to play off as “a joke”). First place was then awarded to the second finisher, Thomas Hicks, although his trainers had doused him with strychnine to control his muscle spasms, and then literally dragged him over the finish line. Third finisher Albert Corey, by some accounts, should be the rightful winner of the race.
A Man Was Indicted for Stealing Dorothy’s Shoes, 18 Years Later
The famous ruby red slippers were stolen from Minnesota’s Judy Garland Museum in 2005, and it took until 2018 to finally retrieve them from a lawyer who was representing a mysterious art dealer. For unspecified reasons, no arrests were made at the time, but they now think they’ve finally got their guy.
Osama Bin Laden’s Mysterious Porn Habit
Fourth-wave feminist Osama bin Laden once said of America’s treatment of women, “Your nation exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools, calling upon customers to purchase them.” Unless he’s a hypocrite, he must have illegally downloaded all the porn they found on his computer after his death. The government still won’t reveal which titles showed up in his “considerable number of pornographic videos.”
Ivan the Terrible’s Cursed Library
His family had been amassing an extensive library of rare and exotic books for three generations. When he began having them translated into Russian, some scribes refused, fearing they would unleash dark magic. It’s possible they were right, because this priceless, intergenerational library mysteriously disappeared after Ivan’s death.
The Vikings Probably Got Their Formidable Bravado From Shrooms
They likely drank a tea made from Amanita mushrooms, which would give them extreme energy, make them feel wildly powerful, and best of all, make them hallucinate. Coupled with the fact that they believed they were conference calling with their boy Odin, the whole idea was to make them feel like they were literally transforming into wild beasts during battle.
The World’s First Selfie (Probably)
Robert Cornelius took the world’s first portrait and the world’s first selfie at the same time, with this 1839 daguerreotype. And the dude looked cool as hell doing it.
Michael Jackson Really Wanted the Elephant Man’s Skeleton
The King of Pop offered $500,000 to the London Hospital Medical College to get the remains of Joseph Carey Merrick, known in his time as a freak-show performer (though we’d likely call him an artist and activist today). When they told him the dude’s bones weren’t for sale, Jackson bravely threw more money at the problem, doubling his offer (which they also turned down).
This Bird Hunts by Farting
The bassian thrush will fart in the general direction of a worm, causing it to startle, thereby making it easier to locate and attack.
Two Newlyweds’ International Tour of Disaster
After their 2011 wedding, Swedish couple Stefan and Erika Svanström went on a two-week vacation that was basically a Final Destination sequel. A monsoon ripped off the roof of their bus in Indonesia, they escaped a brushfire in Australia, barely missed the Christchurch earthquake, only to find themselves in Japan for that year’s earthquake and tsunami.
A Persian General’s High-Stakes Lie
After Darius the Great had been driven out of Babylon, one of his soldiers, Zopyrus, came up with a foolproof plan to infiltrate the rival army. He had his men cut off his ears and nose, and whip him, then presented himself to the enemy as if he had been exiled as a traitor. They eventually gave him command of part of their army, which he used to win a few low stakes battles against his old boss, Darius, to further gain their trust. Then one day he just opened up the gates and let Darius’ army in, completing the sabotage.
Sponges May Have Evolved Beyond the Need for Brains
Some scientists believe there’s evidence of a vestigial nervous system in the otherwise brainless animal. The hypothesis is essentially: These things just hang around the seafloor, filtering nutrients out of the water, so why waste energy on a brain?
The Public Hanging to End All Public Hangings
Franz Muller was such a despised, idiotic criminal, his hanging got out of control and London stopped doing them publicly shortly thereafter. The guy had beat the absolute hell out of a fellow train passenger in an otherwise unoccupied train car, then threw his victim out the window. He was caught because he’d essentially swapped hats with the guy — leaving his own distinctive beaver hat behind, and hanging onto his victim’s hat, which would obviously link him directly to the crime.