At the United Nations, the president of the general assembly wields a gavel to keep order. For years, this gavel was known as Thor's hammer, and this was no mere nickname. It was actually Thor's hammer, gifted to the organization by Thor himself. 

The man's name was Thor Thors, making him twice as much Thor as the Norse god Thor (and four times as much Thor as famed strongman Hafthor Bjornsson). His brother was Icelandic prime minister Ólafur Thors and his father was Thor Jensen, because surnames work differently in Iceland. Thor Thors served as Iceland's first permanent representative to the United Nations. In 1952, he gave the UN his hammer, figuring Iceland is the right country to help the UN preside over a world government, because Iceland is the world's oldest democracy (according to Iceland). 

Then in 1960, the hammer broke. Nikita Kruschchev was banging a podium, going off on a tirade calling the Philippines just America's stooge, so the president banged the gavel, harder and louder, sending the head flying off.

Here's the really weird part of the Kruschchev story. though: No one agrees on exactly what happened. Popular history says that Kruschchev banged on the table with his shoe, which he'd taken off and was now holding in his hand. For that reason, this whole thing went down in history as the "shoe-banging incident," and Kruschchev himself later described it that way. But other people say he just banged on the podium with his hand. Surely there was a photo of him banging, you might say. There is, showing him holding a shoe, and many news sources like Time have shared it ... but it's a doctored photo, dramatizing a different AP photo that just caught Kruschchev raising one hand. 

The UN asked Iceland to replace the hammer, and so they forged one anew. But fifty years later, the hammer just disappeared. No one knows where it went. Probably, someone stole it, but the UN never launched an official investigation, for fear of facing severe mockery over their priorities. 

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For more Thor and hammers, check out: 

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson

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Top image: UN

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