12 Remarkable Bits of Trivia to Sew Onto Your Sash
By learning these 12 trivia tidbits, you earn the right the have your mom sew 12 new merit badges onto your uniform. Congratulations! Of course, your grandfather fought in a world war by the time he was your age, but, y‘know, your semi-fascist camping club is pretty impressive too!
The Ancient Tattooed Ice Princess
An ancient ancestor to the Pazyryk people was found buried in a secret chamber beneath a layer of ice in Siberia. The Siberian Ice Maiden, or Princess of Ukok, was about 25 years old when she died, about 2,500 years ago. Her tattoos have been remarkably well preserved, which is great, because they were intended to last into the afterlife.
A Prominent Boys Club Was Started by a Bitter Bachelor
The Trap Door Spiders are a somewhat secret society of prominent literary weirdos — think Asimov and De Camp — that was founded in 1944 because one dweeb hated his friend’s wife, and wanted a reason for the boys to hang out without her.
E.B. White Wanted to WFH
E.B. White, author of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, wrote for The New Yorker for nearly six decades starting in the 1920s. After contributing for a while, he reluctantly agreed to join the staff, but would only come into the office once a week.
A Boston News Producer Was Fired for Repurposing Volcano Footage
A week after the eruption of Washington’s Mount St. Helens in 1980, a producer at Channel 7 News ran a segment claiming that Massachusetts’ Great Blue Hill was having its own cataclysmic eruption. Despite using footage that was clearly of the Mount St. Helens eruption, and the fact that Great Blue Hill is not very big, and not at all volcanic, locals started calling 9-1-1 for help evacuating.
Best Buy Made Fake Websites to Gaslight Customers
In 2007, online shopping and smartphones barely existed, so a savvy customer could only check Best Buy’s website for prices before heading to the store. Once they got there, the actual price would be significantly higher — and the in-store computer terminal would display a look-alike website confirming the higher price was the “real” price.
PlayStation’s Blood-Curdling Racist Ad
When hyping up the upcoming PSP, Sony decided the way to move units in Holland was to really play up the fact that the console came in white, instead of the traditional black and dark grey. They did this with a huge billboard depicting a porcelain-white person angrily palming the face of a Black person, next to the message “White is coming.”
The Forged Document That Made the Pope Think He Owned the World
The Donation of Constantine was supposedly a record that showed Constantine had given all of Rome and half of his empire to the Catholic Church, because Pope Sylvester I had cured him of leprosy. The Church acted as if they owned Western Europe for a while, until a scholar laid bare just how obviously faked the document was. It had historical inaccuracies, and was written in a version of Latin that essentially would not have existed in Constantine’s day.
Twitter Sent Death Threats to a Dog
Jules O’Dwyer and her dog Matisse won Britain's Got Talent in 2015. Even though O’Dwyer was very clear that one particular trick — a high-wire tightrope walk — was performed by a different, identical dog, people felt duped when they noticed it. She got an influx of death threats, and had to get security for herself and her dogs.
Four Times More Camera Operators Die on Set Than Stunt People
When an accident occurs, a stunt person is wearing all kinds of protective gear, has lots of injury mitigation training and can sometimes eject from the source of destruction. Camera operators, on the other hand, have no control over the on-set chaos that erupts around them.
A French Terrorist Accepted Seven Years in Prison So He Could Smoke a Cigarette
ISIS started cracking down on smoking in 2014, beheading any repeat offenders. One French expat couldn't detox, and decided to return home and face the music instead.
U.S. Marshals Caught a Fugitive With a Yoga Ad
Kaitlin Armstrong was convicted of killing professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in 2022, and had evaded arrest though plastic surgery and a borrowed passport. She used to be a yoga instructor, so when authorities got tipped off to where she might be hiding out, they placed a Facebook ad for a yoga class, and Armstrong responded.
Petrus Alamire: The Bard Spider
Alamire was a combination of a bard from Dungeons & Dragons and Lord Varys from Game of Thrones. He was a 15th century musical scribe whose work was revered by royalty all over Europe. He used his business connections to spy on various noble clients, on behalf of other noble clients. He ultimately reported to King Henry VIII — until he defected to his main rival for the throne, Richard de la Pole (which turned out to be a bad bet).