Fake Your Virginity By Stuffing A Fish Bladder Into Your Vagina
Today, the only thing being a virgin is good for is satanic sacrifice or bonding with a future mass shooter. But once upon a time, a woman's most precious possession was her virtue. So throughout history, girls have crafted bloody booby traps in order to fool their new husbands into thinking they're the first to pierce the virginal veil.
Unfortunately, these artificial hymens were the second-worst thing they'd have to shove up there during their wedding night. That's because 9 out of 10 crones recommended using a fish bladder, nature's squib, to hold the fake bloody charge. Another popular stocking stuffer was a bird's intestines, which presumably started the tradition of always serving chicken at a wedding.
For the red stuff, the choices were more obvious but no less gross. Fresh pig blood worked like a charm, but the Trotula Manuscript, aka Medieval Cosmo, included a handy hack to efficiently get your hands on real vaginal blood. All you had to do was put "a leech very cautiously on the labia, taking care lest it slip inside by mistake." We've never heard a better reason to stay a virgin.
Via Casa ChiesiWe aren't up on our Latin, so aren't sure if that's a glass of blood, or one of the nine or so cups of psych-up grappa that little maneuver would require.
Calm Ocean Waters With Olive Oil
It's an old cooking trick, pouring oil into boiling water. It calms down the water, preventing it from boiling over, and adds much-needed calories to boring H2O. But it turns out that what our old-timey grandmas used to do to their pots, our old-timey sailors did to entire seas.
For the smoothest of sailing, captains would have someone (often a small child) stand on the prow and dump out jugs of oil. This emergency "storm oil" would create a small film over the water surrounding the boat, supposedly making it too slippery for gale winds to lift the water, and maybe even lowering wind speed by reducing sea spray. As little as a gallon of vegetable oil (or a not-so-eco-friendly substitute oil, like mineral or whale) an hour was supposed to calm the waters around a decent-sized boat.
Despite its many invaluable uses, this highly effective sailing trick somehow never found its way into maritime manuals, and crews had to rely on their captains passing down their tried-and-true sea oiling formulas like an Italian grandmother's secret sauce. The practice eventually died out in the 20th century -- partially for environmental reasons, but mostly because we got good at keeping boats from capsizing and no longer needed to lube up the water for a light squall.
Pee On Wheat For An Ancient Pregnancy Test
An Egyptian scroll dating from 1350 BCE explained an ingenious agrarian life hack to help test for pregnancy. All women had to do was take a barley seed and an emmer wheat seed, plant them in separate bags of soil, and then pee on them every day for a couple of weeks. If the plants grew, so would your belly.