When I was eleven I found a book in a second hand bookshop called ‘You Never Knew That’, it had an illustration of an American policeman stopping an open top car that was driven by a chimpanzee on the front. I knew immediately I was going to like the book and indeed all these years later I still have it and occasionally I flick through it as I am never bored of its contents, you see it was like the Internet of its time comprising of carefully selected useless information. Gems such as submarines were used in 1776 during the American War of Independance and there is over 850lb of moon on Earth, where would I be without these incredible facts.
I was addicted to crapiture, useless literature that had an uncanny draw to my warped imagination. Anything that had the words historic, weird, uncanny, peculiar or extraordinary made its way into my collection and pretty soon I had amassed quite a few books. So as a celebration here’s a few fun freaky facts for Friday pulled from the various books.
- Digestive biscuits were originally made to be used to help control flatulance
- Appearing on a highway with a sooty face used to be a hanging offence
- On average every glass of tap water has already passed through the bladders of at least eight people
- The brain of St Peter was kept in a Geneva church until it was discovered it was actually a pumice stone
- Biscuit makers dermatitis, Upholsterers mouth and Seal finger are all real health problems
- Lord Byron had a cloven hoof shaped foot
- On average a person weighing 150lb would make a meal for 75 cannibals
- If you have a fear of chins you suffer from Geniophobia
- According to the church causes of the Black Death included olive oil and the use of dice, cures were thought to be found through puncturing your own testicles or eating treacle after a rain
- Attila the Hun was only four foot six
- Mull of Kintyre by Paul McCartney & Wings stayed at the UK number one chart position for nine weeks in 1977 but it felt a whole lot longer
- Why bring that up? A guide to seasickness was published in 1936
- French baker Joseph Pujol was known as Le Petomane which roughly translated means ‘the manic frater’ and could simulate a water spout before he moved on to stage performances which included imitating a creaking door, a bullfrog, a cannon and the sound of calico being torn. He could also extinguish a candle at a distance of one foot and smoke a cigarette through a rubber hose.
- Charles Dickens was an opium user, Arthur Conan Doyle used cocaine and Edgar Alan Poe was a laudanum and alcohol addict
I’ll leave you with one last thing, the world record for slug eating is twelve in two minutes, don’t fancy that? Then try to eat twelve bananas including skins in less than four minutes and fourteen seconds.
And on that note I wish you a weird weekend, may you wake up with your pants on your head and a handful of jelly, I know I did last week and it was lush.