Author Archives: Emily Upton

The Origin of Humpty Dumpty

Nevin asks: Why is “Humpty Dumpty” always depicted as an egg? As you seem to have noticed, in the “Humpty Dumpty” nursery rhyme, nowhere does it say that Humpty is an egg, yet he is often presented as such in pictures and stories. The version of the rhyme that most children learn today goes like this: Humpty Dumpty sat on […]

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Who was the Real Mother Goose?

Rachel asks: Was “Mother Goose” a real person? A nursery necessity and childhood favourite, Mother Goose is a household name and the writer of dozens of well-known nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill, Pat-a-Cake, and Three Blind Mice. In answer to your question, you may be disappointed to learn that according to […]

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What Causes Will-o’-the-Wisps

Ron asks: What causes the “Will O the Wisps”? For those who don’t know, Will-o’-the-Wisps, also called “ignis fatuus,” Latin for “foolish fire”, are balls of light that are seen hovering over swamps at night and look similar to flickering lanterns, with the light often being blue in color. Several theories exist as to its cause, including bioluminescence; that is, […]

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Cinderella’s Castle was Modeled After Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle

Today I found out that Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disney Land are modeled after Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle. Each castle was also inspired by several other castles, including Fontainebleau and Versailles, but with Neuschwanstein’s dainty turrets and romantic views, it’s easy to see how one castle could take the credit for such iconic masterpieces. While […]

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The Man Who Personally Executed Over 7000 People in 28 Days, One at a Time

Today I found out about Vasili Blokhin, the “Most Prolific Executioner” of all time, according to the Guinness World Records. Born to a Russian peasant family in 1895, as a young man he quickly earned a reputation for “chernaya rabota”, or “black work”, while serving in the Tsarist army during World War I- gaining recognition from Stalin himself for his […]

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