12 Bits of Trivia to Send Crashing Through Your Neurons Like the Kool-Aid Man
Imagine each of these trivia tidbits coursing through your synapses, exploding from one cell to the next with an exhilarating burst of new knowledge. Oh yeah!
A Gruesome Sibling Rivalry
Vayron Jonathan Nakada Ludena murdered six people in Japan in 2006, which is pretty brutal, but his older brother has him beat. Pedro Pablo Nakada Ludena was convicted of 17 murders — and likely committed many more — between 2000 and 2006 in Peru.
The U.K. Has a Traffic Circle Fan Club
After making a hyper-specific calendar featuring local traffic circles, and selling more than 100,000 copies, Kevin Beresford founded the Roundabout Appreciation Society. They discuss techniques to approaching these tricky features, and vote on their favorite roundabouts in the country.
R.L. Stine Used to Go by Jovial Bob Stine
Before he was a horror writer, Robert Lawrence Stine was a joke-book writer, pumping out bangers like Jovial Bob's Computer Joke Book and Look Out! Here Come the Raisinbusters! The Great Grape Joke Book.
A Higher-Stakes War of the Worlds Occurred Nine Years Later
In 1947, U.S. Army radio station WVTR broadcast what was meant to be a lighthearted joke about a sea monster wreaking havoc on Tokyo. American, British and Japanese military brass had varying degrees of freakouts over this gag. By some reports, the guys who did it were stationed in Korea as punishment.
Enron Engineered an Energy Crisis
As Enron started to tank in the mid-2000s, all kinds of embarrassing leaks began coming out. Perhaps most egregious (and dangerous): They’d used their near-monopoly of the energy supply to largely feign an energy crisis, causing two years of rolling blackouts and costing taxpayers over $1 billion.
Capcom Took ‘Viral Marketing’ Too Literally
To promote 2004’s Resident Evil Outbreak, Capcom built a website where users could enter their friends’ phone numbers, and send them a cheeky little warning that they’d been infected with the game’s “T-Virus.” Obviously, this was used to troll randos, and prank victims made a run on antivirus software companies.
A Pastor Implicated in a Crypto Scam Says He ‘Misheard God’
After defrauding his parishioners of $3.2 million, e-pastor Eli Regalado said, “Either I misheard God, and every one of you who prayed and came in. Or two, God is still not done with this project.”
Caligula Pulled a Scrooge McDuck
Evil Roman emperor Caligula was cruel and greedy, but he also loved the physical sensation of gold on his skin. He would sometimes throw gold coins on the ground so he could walk across them, and had his servants pile up his gold into a huge mound so he could roll around in it.
America Fought Australia in World War II
Though technically allies, American soldiers who were stationed in Brisbane after Pearl Harbor predictably overstayed their welcome. General Douglas MacArthur started talking smack, which caused tensions to boil over. Aussie and American troops fought each other for two days, with one American soldier shooting an Australian to death.
The Official Bad Boy Cave of the Ozarks
Missouri’s Fantastic Caverns is now a tourist attraction with a Jurassic Park-like Jeep-drawn tram, but it was also once a meeting place for the KKK (lame!) and a Prohibition-era speakeasy (nice!).
Hall & Oates Were Great at Camouflaging Their Lyrics
What seem like simple pop songs on the outside are about much more complicated, personal struggles. “Rich Girl,” for example, isn’t about Patty Hearst, but instead “it was written about a guy who was the heir to a fast-food fortune. He had too much money, and too many drugs — and he just kind of burned out.” Similarly, “Maneater” isn’t about a woman, but “NYC in the ’80s. It’s about greed, avarice and spoiled riches.”
A Spanish Trickster Was Outed by Her Pet Parrot
In 1913, a spiritualist holding a seance got their grift ruined when the parrot they’d trained to say spooky phrases and make creepy noises flew out from its hiding place and landed on the table in front of the people who’d paid to see a ghost.