Fact or Fiction?
The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth.
When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn’t understand German.
St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was not Irish.
The lance ceased to be an official battle weapon in the British Army in 1927.
St. John was the only one of the 12 Apostles to die a natural death.
Many sailors used to wear gold earrings so that they could afford a proper burial when they died.
Some very Orthodox Jew refuse to speak Hebrew, believing it to be a language reserved only for the Prophets.
A South African monkey was once awarded a medal and promoted to the rank of corporal during World War I.
Born 4 January 1838, General Tom Thumb’s growth slowed at the age of 6 months, at 5 years he was signed to the circus by P.T. Barnum, and at adulthood reached a height of only 1 metre.
Because they had no proper rubbish disposal system, the streets of ancient Mesopotamia became literally knee-deep in rubbish.
The Toltecs, Seventh-century native Mexicans, went into battle with wooden swords so as not to kill their enemies.
China banned the pigtail in 1911 as it was seen as a symbol of feudalism.
The Amayra guides of Bolivia are said to be able to keep pace with a trotting horse for a distance of 100 kilometres.
Sliced bread was patented by a jeweller, Otto Rohwedder, in 1928. He had been working on it for 16 years, having started in 1912.
Before it was stopped by the British, it was the not uncommon for women in some areas of India to choose to be burnt alive on their husband’s funeral pyre.
Ivan the terrible claimed to have ‘deflowered thousands of virgins and butchered a similar number of resulting offspring’.
Before the Second World War, it was considered a sacrilege to even touch an Emperor of Japan.
An American aircraft in Vietnam shot itself down with one of its own missiles.
The Anglo-Saxons believed Friday to be such an unlucky day that they ritually slaughtered any child unfortunate enough to be born on that day.
During the eighteenth century, laws had to be brought in to curb the seemingly insatiable appetite for gin amongst the poor. Their annual intake was as much as five million gallons.
Ancient drinkers warded off the devil by clinking their cups
The Nobel Prize resulted form a late change in the will of Alfred Nobel, who did not want to be remembered after his death as a propagator of violence – he invented dynamite.
The cost of the first pay-toilets installed in England was tuppence.
Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.
In 1647 the English Parliament abolished Christmas.
Mao Rse-Tang, the first chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, was born 26 December 1893. Before his rise to power, he occupied the humble position of Assistant Librarian at the University of Peking.
Coffee is the second largest item of international commerce in the world. The largest is petrol.
King George III was declared violently insane in 1811, 9 years before he died.
In Ancient Peru, when a woman found an ‘ugly’ potato, it was the custom for her to push it into the face of the nearest man.
For Roman Catholics, 5 January is St Simeon Stylites’ Day. He was a fifth-century hermit who showed his devotion to God by spending literally years sitting on top of a huge flagpole.
When George I became King of England in 1714, his wife did not become Queen. He placed her under house arrest for 32 years.
The richest 10 per cent of the French people are approximately fifty times better off than the poorest 10 per cent.
Henry VII was the only British King to be crowned on the field of battle
During World War One, the future Pope John XXIII was a sergeant in the Italian Army.
Richard II died aged 33 in 1400. A hole was left in the side of his tomb so people could touch his royal head, but 376 years later some took advantage of this and stole his jawbone.
The magic word “Abracadabra” was originally intended for the specific purpose of curing hay fever.
The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas Carols, judging them to be out of keeping with the true spirit of Christmas.
Albert Einstein was once offered the Presidency of Israel. He declined saying he had no head for problems.
Uri Geller, the professional psychic was born on December 20 1946. As to the origin of his alleged powers, Mr Geller maintains that they come from the distant planet of Hoova.
Ralph and Carolyn Cummins had 5 children between 1952 and 1966, all were born on the 20 February.
John D. Rockefeller gave away over US$ 500,000,000 during his lifetime.
Only 1 child in 20 are born on the day predicted by the doctor.
In the 1970’s, the Rhode Island Legislature in the US entertained a proposal that there be a $2 tax on every act of sexual intercourse in the State.
Widows in equatorial Africa actually wear sackcloth and ashes when attending a funeral.
The ‘Hundred Years War’ lasted 116 years.
The British did not release the body of Napoleon Bonaparte to the French until twenty days after his death.
Admiral Lord Nelson was less than 1.6 metres tall.
John Glenn, the American who first orbited the Earth, was showered with 3,529 tonnes of ticker tape when he got back.
Native American Indians used to name their children after the first thing they saw as they left their tepees subsequent to the birth. Hence such strange names as Sitting Bull and Running Water.
Catherine the First of Russia, made a rule that no man was allowed to get drunk at one of her parties before nine o’clock.
Queen Elizabeth I passed a law which forced everyone except for the rich to wear a flat cap on Sundays.
In 1969 the shares of the Australian company ‘Poseidon’ were worth $1, one year later they were worth $280 each.
Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath to cover the onset of baldness.
Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour during World War II, left school at the age of eleven.
At the age of 12, Martin Luther King became so depressed he tried committing suicide twice, by jumping out of his bedroom window.
It is illegal to be a prostitute in Siena, Italy, if your name is Mary.
The Turk’s consider it considered unlucky to step on a piece of bread.
The authorities do not allow tourists to take pictures of Pygmies in Zambia.
The Dutch in general prefer their french fries with mayonnaise.
Upon the death of F.D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman became the President of America on 12 April 1945. The initial S in the middle of his name doesn’t in fact mean anything. Both his grandfathers had names beginning with ‘S’, and so Truman’s mother didn’t want to disappoint either of them.
Sir Isaac Newton was obsessed with the occult and the supernatural.
One of Queen Victoria’s wedding gifts was a 3 metre diameter, half tonne cheese.
Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, never phoned his wife or his mother, they were both deaf.
It was considered unfashionable for Venetian women, during the Renaissance to have anything but silvery-blonde hair.
Queen Victoria was one of the first women ever to use chloroform to combat pain during childbirth.
Peter the Great had the head of his wife’s lover cut off and put into a jar of preserving alcohol, which he then ordered to be placed by her bed.
The car manufacturer Henry Ford was awarded Hitler’s Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. Henry Ford was the inventor of the assembly line, and Hitler used this knowledge of the assembly line to speed up production, and to create better and interchangeable products. Imagine what they could have done with todays memory cards.
Atilla the Hun is thought to have been a dwarf.
The warriors tribes of Ethiopia used to hang the testicles of those they killed in battle on the ends of their spears.
On 15 April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson’s fictional ship was the Titan.
There are over 200 religious denominations in the United States.
Eau de Cologne was originally marketed as a way of protecting yourself against the plague.
Charles the Simple was the grandson of Charles the Bald, both were rulers of France.
Theodor Herzi, the Zionist leader who was born on May 2 1860, once had the astonishing idea of converting Jews to Christianity as a way of combating anti-Semitism.
The women of an African tribe make themselves more attractive by permanently scaring their faces.
Augustus II, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland seemed to have a prodigious sexual appetite, and fathered hundreds of illegitimate children during his lifetime.
Some moral purists in the Middle Ages believed that women’s ears ought to be covered up because the Virgin May had conceived a child through them.
Hindus don’t like dying in bed, they prefer to die beside a river.
While at Havard University, Edward Kennedy was suspended for cheating on a Spanish exam.
It is a criminal offence to drive around in a dirty car in Russia.
The Emperor Caligula once decided to go to war with the Roman God of the sea, Poseidon, and ordered his soldiers to throw their spears into the water at random.
The Ecuadorian poet, JosÃ© Olmedo, has a statue in his honour in his home country. But, unable to commission a sculptor, due to limited funds, the government brought a second-hand statue .. Of the English poet Lord Byron.
In 1726, at only 7 years old, Charles Sauson inherited the post of official executioner.
Sir Winston Churchill rationed himself to 15 cigars a day.
On 7 January 1904 the distress call ‘CQD’ was introduced. ‘CQ’ stood for ‘Seek You’ and ‘D’ for ‘Danger’. This lasted only until 1906 when it was replaced with ‘SOS’.
Though it is forbidden by the Government, many Indians still adhere to the caste system which says that it is a defilement for even the shadow of a person from a lowly caste to fall on a Brahman ( a member of the highest priestly caste).
In parts of Malaya, the women keep harems of men.
The childrens’ nursery rhyme ‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses’ actually refers to the Black Death which killed about 30 million people in the fourteenth-century.
The word ‘denim’ comes from ‘de Nimes’, Nimes being the town the fabric was originally produced.
During the reign of Elizabeth I, there was a tax put on men’s beards.
Idi Amin, one of the most ruthless tyrants in the world, before coming to power, served in the British Army.
Some Eskimos have been known to use refrigerators to keep their food from freezing.
It is illegal to play tennis in the streets of Cambridge.
Custer was the youngest General in US history, he was promoted at the age of 23.
It costs more to send someone to reform school than it does to send them to Eton.
The American pilot Charles Lindbergh received the Service Cross of the German Eagle form Hermann Goering in 1938.
The active ingredient in Chinese Bird’s nest soup is saliva.
Marie Currie, who twice won the Nobel Prize, and discovered radium, was not allowed to become a member of the prestigious French Academy because she was a woman.
It was quite common for the men of Ancient Greece to exercise in public .. naked.
John Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world, had a payphone in his mansion.
Iceland is the world’s oldest functioning democracy.
Adolf Eichmann (responsible for countless Jewish deaths during World war II), was originally a travelling salesman for the Vacuum Oil Co. of Austria.
The national flag of Italy was designed by Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Matami Tribe of West Africa play a version of football, the only difference being that they use a human skull instead of a more normal ball.
John Winthrop introduced the fork to the American dinner table for the first time on 25 June 1630.
Elizabeth Blackwell, born in Bristol, England on 3 February 1821, was the first woman in America to gain an M.D. degree.
Abraham Lincoln was shot with a Derringer.
The great Russian leader, Lenin died 21 January 1924, suffering from a degenerative brain disorder. At the time of his death his brain was a quarter of its normal size.
When shipped to the US, the London bridge ( thought by the new owner to be the more famous Tower Bridge ) was classified by US customs to be a ‘large antique’.
Sir Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ cloakroom after his mother went into labour during a dance at Blenheim Palace.
In 1849, David Atchison became President of the United States for just one day, and he spent most of the day sleeping.
Between the two World War’s, France was controlled by forty different governments.
The ‘Crystal Palace’ at the Great Exhibition of 1851, contained 92 900 square metres of glass.
It was the custom in Ancient Rome for the men to place their right hand on their testicles when taking an oath. The modern term ‘testimony’ is derived from this tradition.
Sir Winston Churchill’s mother was descended from a Red Indian.
The study of stupidity is called ‘monology’.
Hindu men believe(d) it to be unluckily to marry a third time. They could avoid misfortune by marring a tree first. The tree ( his third wife ) was then burnt, freeing him to marry again.
More money is spent each year on alcohol and cigarettes than on Life insurance.
In 1911 3 men were hung for the murder of Sir Edmund Berry at Greenbury Hill, their last names were Green, Berry , and Hill.
A firm in Britain sold fall-out shelters for pets.
During the seventeen century , the Sultan of Turkey ordered his entire harem of women drowned, and replace with a new one.
Lady Astor once told Winston Churchill ‘if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee’. His reply …’ if you were my wife, I would drink it ! ‘.
There are no clocks in Las Vegas casinos.
The Great Pyramid of Giza consists of 2,300,000 blocks each weighing 2.5 tons.
On 9 February 1942, soap rationing began in Britain.
Paul Revere was a dentist.
The Budget speech on April 17 1956 saw the introduction of Premium Savings Bonds into Britain. The machine which picks the winning numbers is called “Ernie”, an abbreviation, which stands for’ electronic random number indicator equipment’.
Chop-suey is not a native Chinese dish, it was created in California by Chinese immigrants.
The Russian mystic, Rasputin, was the victim of a series of murder attempts on this day in 1916. The assassins poisoned, shot and stabbed him in quick succession, but they found they were unable to finish him off. Rasputin finally succumbed to the ice-cold waters of a river.
Bonnie Prince Charlie, the leader of the Jacobite rebellion to depose of George II of England, was born 31 December 1720. Considered a great Scottish hero, he spent his final years as a drunkard in Rome.
The Liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was born of the 29th December 1809. Apparently, as a result of his strong Puritan impulses, Gladstone kept a selection of whips in his cellar with which he regularly chastised himself.
A parthenophobic has a fear of virgins.
South American gauchos were known to put raw steak under their saddles before starting a day’s riding, in order to tenderise the meat.
There are 240 white dots in a Pacman arcade game.
In 1939 the US political party ‘The American Nazi Party’ had 200,000 members.
King Solomon of Israel had about 700 wives as well as hundreds of mistresses.
Urine was once used to wash clothes.
North American Indian, Sitting Bull, died on 15 December 1890. His bones were laid to rest in North Dakota, but a business group wanted him moved to a ‘more natural’ site in South Dakota. Their campaign was rejected so they stole the bones, and they now reside in Sitting Bull Park, South Dakota.
St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas, is the patron saint of thieves, virgins and communist Russia.
Dublin is home of the Fairy Investigation Society.
Fourteen million people were killed in World War I, twenty million died in a flu epidemic in the years that followed.
People in Siberia often buy milk frozen on a stick.
Princess Ann was the only competitor at the 1976 Montreal Olympics that did not have to undergo a sex test.
Ethelred the Unready, King of England in the Tenth-century, spent his wedding night in bed with his wife and his mother-in-law.
Coffins which are due for cremation are usually made with plastic handles.
Blackbird, who was the chief of Omaha Indians, was buried sitting on his favourite horse.
The two highest IQ’s ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women.
The Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin Disreali, was born 21 December 1804. He was noted for his oratory and had a number of memorable exchanges in the House with his great rival William Gladstone. Asked what the difference between a calamity and a misfortune was Disreali replied: ‘If Gladstone fell into the Thames it would be a misfortune, but if someone pulled him out again, it would be a calamity’.
The Imperial Throne of Japan has been occupied by the same family for the last thirteen hundred years.
In the seventeenth-century a Boston man was sentenced to two hours in the stocks for obscene behaviour, his crime, kissing his wife in a public place on a Sunday.
President Kaunda of Zambia once threatened to resign if his fellow countrymen didn’t stop drinking so much alcohol.
Due to staggering inflation in the 1920’s, 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 German marks were worth 1 US dollar.
Gorgias of Epirus was born during preparation of his mothers funeral.
The city of New York contains a district called ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.
The city of Hiroshima left the Industrial Promotion Centre standing as a monument the atomic bombing.
During the Medieval Crusades, transporting bodies off the battlefield for burial was a major problem, this was solved by carrying a huge cauldron into the Holy wars, boiling down the bodies, and taking only the bones with them.
A ten-gallon hat holds three-quarters of a gallon.
George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.