Category Archives: Fun Facts

The Funnest of Facts #1

One of my jobs for the morning newscast is writing THE MORNING FUN FACT. Which involves myself finding 1) a fact 2) that is fun. So I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite facts that are fun. BONUS CONTENT: some of these fun facts were too ridiculous/creepy/gross for our morning audience so you get glorious FRESH CONTENT.

1. THE PHANTOM BARBER OF HAIRCUTS IN THE NIGHTTIME

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Scene: 1940s Mississippi

Story: A man, a plan, a pair of shears, and utter disregard for personal space.

The tale of the Phantom Barber of Pascagoula is one of those stories that, in the bright light of modern day, seems hilarious, but at the time was probably utterly terrifying.

It began in June of 1942, when two young women at a convent awoke to find a man climbing out of their bedroom window. Both girls were fine, save for the fact that they were each missing a lock of hair.

Several more attacks followed, each ending with a terrified person (usually female) waking up in their own home and missing a lock of hair. In one case, a couple was actually violently attacked with an iron bar.

A few months after the final secretive snips, the police announced they had found the man responsible–a 57-year-old named William Dolan.

Despite his claims of innocence, Dolan spent 10 years in jail for attempted murder. He was eventually released after taking and passing a lie-detector test.

To this day, it is unknown whether or not he was actually responsible.

Sources:

Mentalfloss

Telegraph-Herald newspaper story

A woman who wrote a book about her experience

2. THE SQUARE WATERMELONS THAT OF COURSE ARE FROM THE JAPANESE

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The Japanese are at it again – this time with cube watermelons.

The melons are grown in iron boxes, which forms them into nice squares. The shape makes them much easier to pack and transport.

Unfortunately, the melons are picked before they are fully ripe, which makes them inedible.

In Japan, they’re mostly sold as gifts, and can fetch prices of upwards of $100.

Since they were clearly unsatisfied with bending nature to their will only once, the Japanese now have heart-shaped watermelons as well.

Sources:

The tale

The thrilling video

How to grow your own square watermelon

3. THE SEAWEED THAT TASTES LIKE BACON OH LORD

Dulse (Photo by BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

Dulse (Photo by BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

It was the best of foods, it was the worst of foods. And then, somehow, we managed to combine both.

I can claim a bit of hometown pride on this one, seeing as it was my alma mater that patented this particular bit of scientific wonder.

It’s technically a strain of red algae (though that doesn’t sound nearly as tasty) known as dulse.

Though it was originally created as a superfood for edible sea snails, when researchers looked into its many benefits (i.e. it’s fast-growing, packed full of nutrients, and tastes like bacon when cooked) they decided we may as well just skip the snail part and start eating the stuff straight.

However, there’s no word yet on whether the seaweed-bacon has the same sizzle and crunchy texture we all know and love.

Sources:

OSU

Time Magazine

4. THE ARMY ANTS USED AS SUTERS FOR GAPING WOUNDS WHAT

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Dorylus,is a species of army ants in East Africa (as well as some parts of asia) that I could do fine without ever meeting.

The ants are large, fiercely defensive, and prone to swarming. The soldier class of the colonies are also able to sting you (of course) but usually rely on their powerful jaws to dispatch enemies instead. The jaws are so powerful, in fact, that when they clamp shut, they can remain that way, even if the ant’s head is separated from the rest of its body.

That’s where the suturing comes in.

Indigenous tribes use the ants as a form of natural surgical staples to close up gaping wounds. They do this by getting the ants to bite the edges of the wounds shut, and then pinching off their bodies, leaving only the ant heads in place.

The makeshift stitches would last up to three days, after which, they can be replaced with fresh ants if necessary.

Sources:

Video of the ant-head suturing process (WARNING: if you’re not a fan of bugs sinking their mandibles into human flesh, you might want to steer clear of this one)

Ted.com

And of course, my personal favorite:

5. THE SERIAL SPANKER OF LONDON

Whipping_Tom

Welcome to the story of one “Whipping Tom” a mysterious man who prowled the streets of 1680s London, accosting and spanking women at random.

He would apparently, grab women on the streets, lift their dresses and spank them vigorously on the bottom while shouting “Spanko!” before running off. His preferred smackdown tools were either his own hands or the occasional birch rod.

Things got so bad at one point that armed male vigilantes began dressing up as women and wandering the streets in hopes of catching him. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain.

He was never captured.

Sources:

Full article (more sources within)