Category Archives: Articles

How Exactly Did One Become an Executioner in Medieval Times?

Mary A. asks: How did someone get the job of an executioner in medieval times? Few occupations from history are as maligned as that of Medieval-era executioner. Popularly painted as gleeful dispensers of death and torture, the truth seems to be that many executioners throughout this period usually treated the occupation with a certain reverence and exhibited an extreme dedication […]

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How Do the Insanely Wealthy Actually Pay for Something Worth Hundreds of Millions of Dollars?

Isaac R. asks: When people buy expensive art worth hundreds of millions of dollars, how do they pay for it? Like could they pay with cash or do they have to have their bank wire the money? Just wondering about the nuts and bolts here. As we’ve discussed before, there are a handful of people walking around right now with […]

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Has Anyone Ever Really Inherited Millions from a Random Person They’ve Never Heard Of?

Jessica K. asks: Has anyone ever inherited millions of dollars from a long-lost relative they’ve never heard of like happens in movies? If you’re like, well, pretty much everyone, at some point you’ve received an email claiming you’ve inherited a large sum of money from some person you’ve never heard of. All you have to do to get it is […]

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What Were Those Weird Metal Things on the Beaches During the Normandy Invasion?

Joshua T. asks: What were all those metal things you see on the beaches in pictures of the Omaha landing? The Normandy Invasions represented one of the single largest military maneuvers in history. Beginning on June 6, 1944, D-Day (see, What does the “D” in D-Day stand for?), the invasion was the largest amphibious assault of all time and involved […]

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How Exactly Do You Prove You’re Alive if You’re Accidentally Declared Dead?

Asa K. asks: What happens when people are accidentally declared dead, and how do they prove that they’re alive? As with most legal matters, answering the question of what exactly happens when a person is accidentally declared dead varies from country to country, although, curiously, from our research, with some exceptions like a few instances we found in Canada particularly, […]

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Do Scientists Ever Name Creatures After People They Dislike Out of Spite?

Philip R. asks: Has any scientist ever named a newly discovered creature after someone they dislike out of spite? Naming a newly discovered species is a rather prestigious privilege. As you can probably imagine then, many see the act of choosing a suitable name for a newly discovered creature as a task that requires a great deal of consideration and […]

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The Ridiculous Way British Sailors Were Ordered to Stop German U-boats During WWI

In the opening days of WW1, Unterseeboots, better known simply as U-boats, proved to be a potent and constant threat to Allied ships, with one U-boat identified as SM U-9 infamously killing nearly 1,500 British sailors in less than an hour by sinking three armoured British cruisers on September 22, 1914. That same U-boat would go on to sink over […]

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What Happened to Dead Bodies After Big Battles Throughout History?

Jen M. asks: What did they do with all the dead bodies after huge battles in history? Given we know that even Neanderthals would bury their dead (even including objects with the bodies) and various human hunter-gatherer groups likewise used to bury or cremate people at specifics sites that functioned as sort of pilgrimage locations for these nomads, it should […]

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Why Do the Eyes in Some Paintings Follow You Around the Room?

Mark B. asks: How do artists making paintings with people that have eyes that follow you around the room? Art as they say, is subjective, what one person considers a priceless masterpiece others might see as nothing more than a giant black square… But there’s one very specific kind of painting that most everyone sees the same way- the kind […]

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That Time a Guy Destroyed One of the Ancient Wonders of the World Just So People Would Remember Him

Long considered the greatest of the so-called “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, the Temple of Artemis located in modern-day Turkey consists of nothing more than a single column of marble surrounded by random pieces of debris. Famously destroyed and rebuilt multiple times over the centuries, the temple is most notable for being burned down by a guy who wanted […]

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That Time a Heineken Distributor Convinced the Masses That Corona Contained Human Urine

For many beer aficionados “tastes like warm piss” is perhaps the most withering insult one can hurl in the general direction of a given beer. While you wouldn’t begrudge a member of the public making such a claim about a particular beer, you’d think brewers themselves would have a little more decorum. Something nobody apparently told a certain Heineken distributor […]

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