Category: odd

Medicinal leeches

Thousands of leeches are used for medical emergencies every year. The leech’s blood sucking accelerates healing on any deep wound but especially after re-attaching a severed limb or any other deep wound. The leech feeds off the oxygenated blood that would otherwise cause swelling and gangrene. The sucking assists the flow of blood and an […]

Death penalty for selling sour wine

The French Revolution started when revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison in Paris in 1789. Meant to rid the country of the nobles once and for all, far more members of the general public than the nobles met with the guillotine. Of the approximately 16,000 people killed in the three following years, only 10% were nobles, […]

Odd garbage control

Although Athens, in 500 BC, was the first city to control garbage, Europeans heaved garbage out their windows until the 1300′s. They also threw the contents of their pee pots out the window, simply shouting “garde a l’eau!” (“Watch out for the water!”). It is from this we get “loo” and, eventually, toilets. Plagues in […]

Central heating was developed in warm countries

Central heating was developed in warm countries. The Minoans of Crete (2700 BC – 1100 BC) devised a system of diffused heating. And around 150 BC the Romans developed the hypocaust system. This is how it worked: Tile floors were supported by columns, creating a space beneath the floor where warm gases from a central […]

Shooting the big cheese

The phrase “big cheese” originates from the Persian and Hindi word “chiz” which means “thing.” In 1886, Sir Henry Yule wrote that “it was common among Anglo-Indians” to say something is “the real big chiz.” The “big chiz” became “big cheese.” The phrase is most commonly used to refer to someone of importance or, in […]

Odd entries in the old Encyclopedia Britannica

The first edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was published in 1768 and included some odd entries, even describing monsters as a human species. The editors of British newspaper The Daily Telegraph share some of the weirdness: Humans and monsters Homo sapiens were sub divided into five varieties: the American, the European, the Asiatic, the African and […]

Man ate aircraft

An inquest into the death of Brit Frederick Edwards in 1933 found 200 nails, 36 staples and 3 penknives in his stomach. But he didn’t even have half the appetite of Frenchman Michel Lotito, whose stage name was “Mr Eat All.” Michel ate 18 bicycles, 15 shopping carts, 7 TV sets, a computer, numerous razor […]

Teeth made of hippo bones

Nowadays you can go to the dentist to have a broken tooth fixed or missing tooth replaced on the spot. In previous centuries it was not as easy. The problem of missing teeth was first discussed at length in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard in his book The Surgeon Dentist. Although gold was used to replace […]

The pig organ

Louis XI ruled France from 1461-83. He was ugly, stingy, unscrupulous and underhanded. He is known as the Spider King because of shrewdly spinning a spider’s web of conspiracy and plotting to gain and maintain control. The  musical instrument that was especially made for Louis XI suited his character: the pig organ. The pig organ, […]

Wigs that are 3 feet high

In 1500 BC in Egypt women shaved their head as the ultimate display in beauty. Remaining hair was removed with special gold tweezers and then their scalps were buffed to a high sheen with soft cloths. Over the next 100 years the rich Egyptian women placed cones of scented grease on their heads, allowing the […]