; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Famous People's Unusual Facts

Though you may be aware of many of these facts, there may also be a few surprises:

*The Roman Emperor Commodus collected all the disabled and little people he could find and ordered them to fight each other to the death with cleavers in the Colosseum.

*The King of England King George III was nuttier than a fruitcake, probably because of poisoning due to the heavy use of arsenic-based face powder throughout his life.

*After Pope Gregory IX associated cats with devil worship, felines throughout Europe were exterminated.

*Mexican General Santa Anna had an elaborate state funeral...for his amputated leg.

*Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers of all time, was known for drinking around 50 cups of tea, per day.

*The Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Ibrahim I ordered all of his 280 concubines drowned in the Bosphorus after one of them stepped out with another man.

*Before becoming pope, Pius II wrote a popular erotic book, The Tale of Two Lovers.

*Peter the Great had his wife’s lover decapitated, then forced her to keep the head in a jar of alcohol in her bedroom. He also had a museum of oddities ranging from deformed animal fetuses to animal parts to dispel superstition in his country.

*15th century Wallachia ruler Vlad III Dracula impaled 20,000 Ottoman Turk prisoners on long, sharp poles on the banks of the Danube. The sight of the condemned prisoners frightened and repelled the invading Turks.

*German poet, philosopher and historian Friedrich Schiller was inspired to write and work only if there was smell of rotten apples spreading around him.

*Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky would every day, without exception, walk for exactly two hours. Not a minute more or less. If he would, for some reason, exceed those planned two hours, he was sure that is facing an accident or bad luck.

*Child killer and rapist Pedro Lopez, known as “The Monster of the Andes,” was convicted in 1983 of killing 110 young girls (though he confessed to killing 300). NOTE: Lopez was released in 1998 after serving Ecuador’s maximum sentence of 20 years. His whereabouts are presently unknown.

*During a speech in Milwaukee in 1912, an assassin attempted to kill former President Theodore Roosevelt with a gun, but the bullet was slowed down by his folded speech and eyeglass case. The bullet broke 2 ribs and was lodged in his chest. Roosevelt promptly told the crowd he’d just been shot, continued giving a 50 minute speech, and then headed to the hospital.

*In 1937, Wolf Messing predicted that Adolf Hitler would die if he ever threatened Russia and “turned toward the East.” The message angered Hitler and caused Messing to flee to Russia. Messing eventually proved his psychic ability to Stalin, who made him an instructor with the KGB.

*There has been much speculation as to how author and poet Edgar Allan Poe died, but after a autopsy study done by the University of Maryland a century and a half after his death, it was been concluded that Poe died of rabies.

*Abdul Kassam Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the tenth century, always carried his library with him wherever he went. Four hundred camels carried the 117,000 volumes.

*The genius Albert Einstein was born with a larger than average size head. The doctors worried that it was a deformation and that Albert may have a form of retardation when he grew older.

*The great thinker and philosopher Aristotle was staunchly misogynistic. He wrote that “a woman is perhaps an inferior being” and that a female was “as it were, a deformity.”

*Caesar Rodney, an important figure in the signing of the Declaration of Independence, actually wore a mask so many people aren't sure what he looked like.

*England's Queen Elizabeth I passed a law which forced everyone except for the rich to wear a flat cap on Sundays. She also placed a tax on men's beards.

*Sir Winston Churchill rationed himself to 15 cigars a day. Lady Astor once told Churchill "if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee". His reply..."if you were my wife, I would drink it!".

*US President Calvin Coolidge was an animal hoarder who filled the White House with zoological tomfoolery. "He had six dogs, a bobcat, a goose, a donkey, a cat, two lion cubs, an antelope, and a wallaby. The main attraction in his personal zoo, though, was Billy, a pygmy hippopotamus."

*England's King Charles II often rubbed dust from the mummies of pharaohs so he could "absorb their ancient greatness".

*Roman Emperor Caligula was so upset by the death of his sister Drusila that he imposed a year of mourning. During this time, everyone in the empire was forbidden to dine with his family, laugh or take a bath. The penalty for transgression was death.

*England's Queen Elizabeth II has a button installed on her chair. She will discretely press it when she wishes to end the conversation with whomever she is having an audience with and an aide will come to usher them away.

*Genghis Khan had offspring with so many different women, that roughly 1 in every 200 people in present day China are a direct descendant from him.

I'll end the list with this true fact:

During World War I, a German soldier stumbled across the path of the British infantryman, Private Tandey. The soldier limped from the smoke, unarmed, right into the Brit's line of sight. Tandey took his aim at the wounded soldier, but didn't fire, taking pity on him. The soldier nodded in appreciation and limped away with his life. That German soldier was Adolf Hitler.

Hitler, who was an artist, created a painting of the British soldier. It was shown to British PM Neville Chamberlain during his infamous visit to Germany. Chamberlain asked Hitler about it, and he replied: "That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again, providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us."

Tandey later said "If only I had known what he would turn out to be. When I saw all the people and woman and children we had killed and wounded I was sorry to God, so I let him go."

Ye Olde Weird but True: 300 Outrageous Facts from History

The United States of Strange: 1,001 Frightening, Bizarre, Outrageous Facts About the Land of the Free and the Home of the Frog People, the Cockroach Hall of Fame, and Carhenge

American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts That Never Made It into the Textbooks

Weird-o-pedia: The Ultimate Book of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts About (Supposedly) Ordinary Things