12 Polished Bits of Trivia We Just Pulled Out of the Trivia Tumbler After Four Weeks With Extra Fine Grit, So You Know These Bad Boys Are Burnished to a High Sheen

12 Polished Bits of Trivia We Just Pulled Out of the Trivia Tumbler After Four Weeks With Extra Fine Grit, So You Know These Bad Boys Are Burnished to a High Sheen

These facts were gorgeous before we popped ‘em in there, but now? They’re so glossy they almost shimmer with an inner luminescence. We’ve got tidbits about the alien invasion story that made The War of the Worlds broadcast look like a weather report, 18th century true-crime fans and the Oktoberfestian origins of Botox. 

You can keep one, but we need to turn the rest into earrings and sell them to tourists.

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The Rash of Alien Hoaxes That Predates the ‘War of the Worlds’

In the 1830s, several newspapers published serialized science-fiction stories with suspiciously little context, causing people to think bizarre creatures and ecosystems on the moon had been glimpsed by telescope. The Sun published “Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made” (later known as “The Great Moon Hoax”), which is the incident that really freaked people out. But that story had already been published in The Edinburgh Courant, and Edgar Allan Poe claimed it was a ripoff of one of his stories. Poe later published his own fake-out in The Sun, which came to be known as “The Balloon-Hoax.” (Source)

A Close Runner-Up to Nuclear Weapons Was: Bats

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Eleanor Roosevelt’s friend told her his brilliant plot for revenge: tie bombs to a bunch of bats, and airdrop them over Japan. The bats would roost in barns and attics, then all explode at the same time. Mass chaos would ensue. She politely passed his note along to her husband… and the U.S. Navy actually developed this ridiculous plan. (Source)

'Happy Days' Didn’t Get Its Iconic Theme Song Until Season Three

A different version of the song played during the ending credits of the first two seasons. But it ripped so hard that they re-recorded it and made it the official theme song for the rest of the run. (Source)

True Crime Has Always Had a Macabre Fandom

Contemporary accounts told of big-time regicide fans dabbing their handkerchiefs in Louis XVI’s blood after he was beheaded. One filthy handkerchief (that was found inside of a decorative gourd) was tested against one of Louis’ ancestors — specifically, that ancestor’s disembodied and mummified head — and was found to indeed contain traces of his blood. (Source)

Milk Transfusions

As soon as physician William Harvey figured out how the circulatory system worked in 1616, doctors started squelching all kinds of stuff up in them veins. Besides animal blood, milk was probably the tamest liquid they tried. Reportedly, people thought beer, wine, urine and opium might heal an unhealthy body. (Source)

Orson Welles Found a Loophole That Allows You To Send Your Dead Body to the Sitting President

Playboy tried to get philosophical with him in a 1967 interview, asking, “Have you any theories about what will happen to you after death?” Welles responded, “I don’t know about my soul, but my body will be sent to the White House,” and explained that there’s no law against indicating on your passport that your remains should be returned to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Source)

Beyoncé Paid 100K to Help Fans Get Home

A lightning storm delayed the start of her concert in Washington, D.C., which would have meant attendees would have no way to get home afterward. The Metro will run later than usual for big events, for a fee of 100k, which the tour shelled out on the spot. (Source)

A Kid Randomly Saved Two People from Cartoonish Deaths in the Same Day

Eleven-year-old Davyon Johnson Heimlich’d a bottle cap out of a classmate’s throat at school, then on the way home, ran into a burning house and dragged a woman out to safety. (Source)

The Extinct Eagle That Hunted Humans

Maori legends about pouakai — gigantic flying monsters that could kill adult humans and other big game on the spot, or swoop in and kidnap smaller children — are most likely based on the actual (but extinct) Haast’s eagle. (Source)

The Bottle Conjuror

In 1749, a huge crowd showed up at England’s Haymarket Theatre to watch an acrobat shove his body into a wine bottle. The whole thing was a hoax — the result of a bet between a Duke and an Earl — and when nothing happened, people rioted, tore stuff out of the theatre and started a bonfire in the street. (Source)

Arthur Priest, the Unsinkable Stoker

A stoker is one of the worst jobs you could have on an old-timey steam-powered ship: You’re just constantly shoveling fuel into a blazing hot furnace. Priest was a stoker on six ships involved in collisions, four of which sank, and several of which were during active combat in World War I. (Source)

Botox Was Originally Known As ‘Sausage Poisoning’

After people kept getting food poisoning from sausages in the late 1700s, German physicians finally isolated the specific toxin that was developing in vats of slimy meat. They named it “botulism” after the Latin word for sausage, “botulus.” That toxin is the source of Botox, which is short for “botulinum neurotoxin.” (Source)

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