FASCINATING FACTS OF THE DAY: 20 Strange and Unusual Facts That Sound Too Weird To Be True
Many a times, human beings come across scary facts through events, happenings and revelations so much so that suddenly, ordinary life starts seeming bizarre after such discoveries. The following list brings to you certain unknown and unbelievable facts from all over the globe that is bound to keep you tongue-tied for a while and leave you feeling uneasy for quite some time…
1. A man in Florida heard the screams of his brother from his bedroom. On reaching there, he saw the gory sight of his brother and his entire room being swallowed by a sinkhole! The body was never found even after diligent rescue operations.
It was a usual day for two brothers in Florida, when something unfortunate happened, and changed their lives forever.
Jeremy heard the scream of his brother Jeff who was in his room. By the time Jeremy rushed in, he saw his brother being drawn into the sinkhole which had suddenly engulfed the entire room, including the furniture and Jeff, inside the womb of the Earth. Frantic efforts to save his brother did not yield any results, leaving Jeremy hapless and dismayed at the sudden tragedy that had struck the family. In total, five survived the calamity, including Jeremy and a 2-year-old child.
The sinkhole measured 20 – 30 feet wide and was around 30-feet deep as per rescuers. It was feared that due to the magnanimous size of the sinkhole, the other parts of the house would also sink. The houses of neighbors were evacuated as a safety measure. People were hoping that if there is an air hole somewhere beneath the ground where Jeff was stuck, there could have been chances of him being alive. However, experts believed that just as the past instances there were very few chances of survival in a crisis of such magnanimity. Jeff’s body could not be found despite the efforts of a large number of rescue workers. (source)
2. A Sesame Street episode in the year 1976 scared children so much, that the authorities had to pull it off air after several complaints that were made by parents, whose kids screamed in horror.
On February 10, 1976, Sesame Street Episode aired episode 847, featuring Margaret Hamilton. In the episode, Hamilton was reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
In the aired episode, the central character (Witch) loses her broom while flying over Sesame Street. Following this, she keeps threatening to turn David into a basketball and the Big Bird into a feather duster.
The amount of threat on the other characters was such that the children watching the show got extremely afraid of the witch. There were a large number of complaints from parents regarding this episode and they reported that their children were screaming in fear and crying in terror of the witch when the episode was being aired.
As a result of this, some test screenings were made by the concerned authorities but despite the mixed reaction, the Children’s Television Workshop decided to never air the episode again. This decision has remained intact since the past 40 years.(source)
3. In 1994, a man, staring through the windows of old people’s houses, black-cloaked as Grim Reaper – with a scythe, was arrested by the Los Angeles police for his act.
There was a man who dressed like Grim Reaper, carrying a scythe, which made him look like the real Angel of Death. As the fable goes, Grim Reaper is a depiction of death and his presence entails that he takes the souls of human beings he comes across, resulting in their death.
The man got arrested by the Los Angeles Police as he used to stand and stare inside the windows of the elderly; making them very uncomfortable. His presence seemed as if the mythical character, had actually come to take someone’s soul, a thing not to be taken lightly, especially when the man was staring through the windows of the elderly.(source)
4. While filming the movie ‘The Exorcist’, many actors got injured, the set burned down, a Priest was brought in several times to bless the set, and the actor who played Burke, Jack MacGowran, died of Influenza.
“The Exorcist”, a supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, was based on the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, which was in turn inspired by the exorcism case of Roland Doe, a pseudonym given to the victim by the Catholic Church. The 1973 film portrays the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl. The story revolves around how the mother of the child attempts to seek normalcy in her daughter’s life with the help of two Priests who conduct exorcism.
From its onset, the film went through troubled waters. Prestigious directors not only turned down the film, but ominous events surrounded the year-long shoot. Nearly nine people died who were associated with the production of the film and a mysterious fire destroyed the set one weekend. People started to believe that the project itself were cursed. A Priest was brought in several times on the set to bless the film, its actors and the project. However, as if all the tragedies during the filmmaking process were not enough, that just after the work was wrapped up, the actor who played Burke in the film, died of Influenza.(source)
Some projects really have bad fate, the exorcist is a befitting example of this.
5. A syndrome that makes certain people believe of an unseen presence (i.e. of a spirit) which is there to help and provide comfort during traumatic experiences is known as the ‘third man factor’ and is considered as a good coping mechanism by experts.
Instances from real life experiences, especially those of adventurers, suggest that they believe that there has been a force in their trail that helped them come out of hardships during their testing times.
Psychologists have termed this syndrome as the ‘third-man-factor’. They have, in fact, made use of this ability to help traumatic patients – by making them feel they have an imaginary friend, to help them cope better. As per scientific explanations, the feeling to have someone around can be termed as a coping mechanism of human beings.(source)
6. A Missouri couple sued the seller of a house, from whom they had bought it, when they discovered that Brown Recluse Spiders were “bleeding out of the walls.” It was estimated by an expert that around 4,000 – 5,000 spiders had infested the house.
Susan and Brian Trost had bought a home for $450,000. Soon after they moved in, they realized that something had been hidden by the previous owners while they were selling off the property. The previous owners had not disclosed to them that the house was infested by some creepy creatures known as ‘Brown Recluse Spiders’. These have a distinctive violin shape on their backs and can lead to pain, itching, swelling and nausea, if bitten. In extreme cases, they can even lead to organ failure and death. The spiders used to fall from the shower and and also crawl on the walls.
The couple could not get the insurance company to pay for their treatment but won a civil lawsuit against the previous owners for hiding facts before selling the property. Finally the house had to be gassed to get rid of these creatures.(source)
7. As revealed in 1975 in a Congressional testimony, a type of gun was created by the CIA, which when shot darts, resulted in a heart attack. On penetrating the skin, the dart left just a tiny red dot. The poison worked rapidly and denatured quickly afterwards so that it was impossible to believe that the cause of the death was anything but unnatural.
In one of the discoveries of the Church Committee Hearings of the year 1975, it was revealed that the CIA had a secret weapon that was made used for assassination shoots. This weapon was a small poison dart which could penetrate the clothing and leave a small red dot on the skin. Targeted individuals did not feel anything at all, or maybe just experienced the feeling of a mosquito bite initially. The lethal poison, then rapidly entered the bloodstream, leading to a heart attack. The poison used to get denatured quickly and it was impossible to detect in the autopsy that the cause of the heat attack is anything else but natural. (source)
8. Your brain makes imaginary monsters when you stare into a mirror.
There is an optical illusion known as the ‘Troxler Effect’. It has been found by psychologists that people experience optical illusions of deformation of their faces after staring at oneself for 10 minutes in the mirror. Troxler Effect fades out features that an individual isn’t staring at or in other words, not focusing on.
This effect wanders over the entire face, distorting it massively. It does not stay in one place. There have been many participants in this experiment. Sixty six percent reported huge deformation of their faces. Eighteen percent reported that their faces changed to their parents face with traits changed. Twenty eight percent reported that their face had changed to an unknown person. While 48% also reported that their face had changed to monstrous beings.(source)
9. A man survived in a sunken ship for nearly three days – 270 feet underwater, in pitch darkness, while listening to fish eat the corpses of his shipmates.
Harrison Okene; a Nigerian man was trapped for nearly three days in 98ft deep, freezing sea water. He was on board the tug boat, Jascon-4 when the boat met with a mishap and sank upside down on the seabed. Since Harrison was trapped in an air pocket, he was able to breathe during the ordeal. He was the lone survivor out of the 12 on board.
He worked as a cook on board and was in the toilet when the mishap occurred. Fortunately, he was able to find an area with an air pocket which led him to survive. He was in the water in total darkness, thinking that the water would fill up the room in which he was trapped. But somehow, the water did not enter. He said he was hungry but more than that he was intensely thirsty. In his account to news reporters he said, that he could even hear the fish eating the dead bodies of his fellow crew members.
After 60 hours, he could hear the sound of someone knocking on the door. It was one of the rescue members from DCN Global Diving Company.
Harrison says that he is still unable to recover from the trauma and sometimes when he is asleep, he feels as if his bed is sinking and is in water and then he wakes up screaming.(source)
10. After watching a documentary on a serial killer who tortured and killed women in the basement, a woman realized that she was actually living in the same apartment.
In St. Louis, a woman signed a lease contract for an apartment. Soon after moving in, she watched a cold case documentary about serial killers that was being aired on the local TV channel.
While watching the documentary, she realized that the house she had rented, was actually the one which was used by the serial killer; Maury Travis as his torture chamber for women. Even the dining table was the same that was being used in the crime scenes. Travis had recorded some of the crimes that he had committed. On discovering this baffling reality, the lady pleaded her landlady to break the lease agreement, but the landlady did not budge.
However, St. Louis Housing Authority intervened and helped her discontinue the lease with the landlady who was incidentally, the mother of the killer.(source)
11. There is a parasite which destroys the tongue of a fish and then itself replaces the tongue for the rest of its lifespan, essentially transforming itself into a living, parasitic, but fully functioning and otherwise harmless tongue is known as Cymothoa Exigua.
The tongue-eating louse, Cymothoa Exigua, is a parasite of the Cymothoidae family. This parasite enters a fish through its gills. After entering the fish, these parasites sever the blood vessels present in the tongue of the fish, causing the tongue to fall off.
Females are 8–29 millimetres long and 4–14 mm wide, while males are approximately 7.5–15 mm long and 3–7 mm wide. Once the tongue falls out, the parasite attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish’s new harmless tongue for the rest of its lifespan.(source)
12. There is a brain-eating amoeba (Naegleria Fowleri) that lives in fresh water bodies. It can kill a human in seven days. Death rate is 98% and there is no effective treatment against it.
Naegleria Fowleri is an amoeba found in warm bodies of freshwater such as rivers, lakes, hot springs and ponds. It is also found in hot water heaters, near warm-water discharges of industrial plants, and in poorly chlorinated, or unchlorinated swimming pools, soil, poorly maintained municipal water supplies in an amoeboid or temporary flagellate stage. There is no evidence of it living in salt water. If a human being gets infected by it, then fatality rate is 95%.
The onset of primary symptoms include changes in taste and smell, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck. Secondary symptoms include hallucinations, lack of attention, ataxia, seizures and confusion. After the start of the symptom, the disease rapidly progresses in the brain of the sufferer, leading to death after 7-14 days of the infection.
No effective treatment of Naegleriasis, also known as Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), Amebic Encephalitis, and Naegleria infection has been found yet.(source)
13. Discovered in 1976, the Megamouth shark is an extremely rare species. Only 60 of them have ever been seen.
In the year 1976, the first Megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios), an extremely rare species of deep water shark got discovered about 25 miles off the coast of Kane’ohe, Hawaii when it got entangled in the Navy ship of the United States. It was a total of 5-m (14.7-ft), 750-kg (1,650-lb) in height and weight respectively – a sensational discovery. It was the smallest of the three extinct planktivorous sharks, the other two being the Basking Shark and the Whale Shark. In the past 40 years, just 61 specimens of Megamouth shark have known to have been caught. Three of such catches have also been recorded.
Megamouth Sharks have rubbery lips and large heads. As their name signifies, they swim with their mega mouths wide open. Specimens of this distinct shark has been found in waters of different areas – Hawaii, Mexico, California, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Senegal, Ecuador, Japan, Philippines and Taiwan.(source)
14. In the South African nation of Lesotho, there is an airstrip where the pilot rolls the airplane off a cliff and drops until there is enough airspeed to fly. Very few pilots are trained enough to handle the airplanes in such scary conditions.
It is a common occurrence to fly off a cliff at the Matekane Air Strip, located in the country of Lesotho in South Africa. The runway is perched at a height of 7,500 feet, on a narrow mountain airstrip and has a 2,000 feet drop, off a cliff! There have been instances, when planes have failed to obtain the required speed on the 1,312 feet long tarmac and plunged off the cliff to take flight. There are very few trained pilots in the world who can successfully manage take offs and landings in such scary situations.(source)
15. By the time they are 70, two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with Skin Cancer.
Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged – for example due to overexposure from ultraviolet sun rays.
It has been found that in Australia:
80% of all newly diagnosed cancer is Skin Cancer.
General practitioners have over 1 million Skin Cancer patient consultations annually.
95% to 99% Skin Cancer is caused by exposure to the sun rays.
In Australia, almost 14% adults, 24% teenagers and 8% children are sunburnt on an average summer weekend.
Many Australians get sunburns when they are taking part in watersports and activities at the beach or pool, as well as during gardening or barbecue.
Many Australians get tanned knowingly. Almost half Australian adults still hold the belief that a tan looks healthy.
Some people who use fake tans mistakenly believe that it will provide them with protection against UV radiation. As a result, they may not take sun protection measures, putting them at greater risk of Skin Cancer.
Australians need to bust myths, else they will always rank highest in the number of Skin Cancer patients – two to three times the numbers in Canada, US and UK. (source)
16. Cockroaches raised in space are quicker, stronger, faster and tougher than their counterparts on Earth.
Russian News Agency, Novosti has reported that baby cockroaches that have been conceived in space on board the Russian Foton-M biosatellite have developed faster and become quicker, stronger, and tougher than their counterparts on Earth. The research scientists who have been monitoring them since their birth have also observed that their bodies and limbs grow faster than their terrestrial counterparts.(source)
17. The Tarantula Hawk wasp’s sting is so unbearable that people are advised to ‘lie down and start screaming’ to prevent further injury if they have been stung by it.
There has been a recommendation in a peer reviewed journal that if at all you get stung by a Tarantula Hawk which can be best described as a bullet ant, you do nothing but lie down on the floor and scream. The reason behind this is that the sting of this insect is extremely intense and also unbearable. If one moves around after being stung, there is a chance of the sufferer, further injuring himself.
Tarantula Hawks are mostly found in Southwestern US.(source)
18. A British forest guard in India made an alarming discovery in the year 1942. He found out that at the bottom of a small valley, around 16,000 feet above sea level, was a frozen lake, which was full of skeletons.
This discovery was possible only because that Summer, the ice had melted in the Lake of Roopkund and the skeletal remains were floating in water and lying on the edges in an haphazard manner.
Many assumptions were made to get to the crux of whose remains it were. It was a general assumption that the skeletons must have been of a fleet of soldiers. However, after numerous theories, it was revealed that the remains were of bodies that dated back to 850 AD. Evidence has indicated the fact that there were two distinct groups of people who were travelling together when they got hit by “hard as iron” cricket ball-sized (about 23 centimeter/9 inches diameter) hailstones that came by the thousands, resulting in the travelers’ sudden death as they had no place to take shelter. The hailstorm was the reason why the heads of the skeletons were cracked.
The first of the two distinct groups was identified as a family or tribe of closely related individuals, and the second one was a smaller, shorter group of locals, who must have been hired as porters and guides. Rings, spears, leather shoes, and bamboo staves were found, leading experts to believe that the group comprised of pilgrims who were crossing by the valley by taking the help of locals. It was also estimated that the remains of these people laid there for 1200 years before being discovered.(source)
19. Draculin is a protein which is found in the vampire bats’ saliva. This protein prevents the prey’s blood from clotting while the bat is drinking it.
The protein present in the saliva of the vampire bats is composed of 411 amino acids. This glycoprotein is named as Draculin. It is being explored in medicine and is believed to be useful for the treatment of strokes and heart attacks. It may also be used as a blood thinner for the prevention of heart attacks. The protein has shown positive results in treatment of Ischemic strokes, which account for majority of strokes. It is effective for up to 9 hours. However, more research is needed before draculin can become a practical, widely available drug.(source)
20. There is a disease nicknamed Ondine’s Curse which causes sufferers to die if they fall asleep.
In a mythical story, a heartbroken water nymph curses her unfaithful husband to stop breathing should he ever fall asleep again. Ondine’s Curse is named after this mythical event and in medical terms, represents an extreme form of sleep apnea. It is also known as Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome or CCHS. It is a severe and rare form of sleep apnea.
The treatment of this condition involves the use of a ventilator connected to the front of the throat through a tracheostomy tube whenever the affected individual goes to sleep or even when he takes a nap. If this preventive measure is not taken, then the affected individual’s may die anytime in sleep.(source)