World’s Strangest

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7 Political Disagreements Settled With Fists and Hair-Pulling

Getty Images Anyone with even a fleeting relationship to political news these days has probably noticed that partisan bickering in the U.S. Congress has reached a bit of a crescendo of late. So we got to thinking: When do politicians just give up on the vitriolic rhetoric and throw a punch? The answer: more often than you’d [...]

On This Date in 1886, Grover Cleveland Married 21-Year-Old Frances Folsom in the White House

© CORBIS The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms was also the only president married in a White House ceremony. Grover Cleveland was 49 and a little more than a year into his first term when he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom. The wedding was a simple affair, attended by close friends, family, and cabinet members [...]

What Made People Think Dewey Defeated Truman?

Truman isn’t just gleeful in that famous photo because he had been reelected, but because it was egg on the face of a paper he hated, the Chicago Tribune. The paper had a conservative bent, disapproved of most of his policies, and had once even called him a “nincompoop” in an editorial. The Tribune was suffering [...]

10 Other People Ronald Reagan’s Diary Only Mentions Once

During last night’s GOP debate, Mitt Romney attempted to minimize Newt Gingrich’s connection to President Reagan: “I looked at the Reagan diary. You’re mentioned once in Ronald Reagan’s diary. And in the diary, he says you had an idea in a meeting of young congressmen, and it wasn’t a very good idea and he dismissed it. [...]

Dixville Notch: The New Hampshire Town That Votes at Midnight

HU GUANGYAO/Xinhua/Landov Dixville Notch, NH, is a tiny unincorporated township of about 75 residents situated at the foot of the scenic White Mountains and home to The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel. But the village’s claim to fame is the legendary midnight vote, which often earns it “first vote in the nation” bragging rights. So, how did [...]

Why Does New Hampshire Get to Hold the First Primary?

© Rick Friedman/Corbis Because the state wants it that way! New Hampshire’s primaries have informally been the earliest since 1920, but over the years, the state has passed laws to ensure that its primaries will remain the first in the nation. In fact, New Hampshire’s officials are bound by state law to hold the primary “on the [...]

Last Week’s Most Popular Stories and an Enjoyable Wikipedia Screenshot

In case you weren’t obsessively refreshing mentalfloss.com all week, here’s what you missed: 1. 119 Amazing Facts for National Trivia Day, by Jason English * 2. Why Do Dogs Walk in a Circle Before Lying Down?, by Matt Soniak * 3. 25 One-Word Answers to Very Important Questions, by Ethan Trex * 4. How Do Magic Eye Pictures Work?, by Matt Soniak * 5. [...]

If the Heart Is a Muscle, Why Doesn’t It Get Tired?

Heart image via Shutterstock You’re on the weight bench. 18. 19. 20! You couldn’t lift that barbell again if someone had a gun to your head. Your arms and your chest are sizzling with a dull burn. Your muscles are fatigued, and as you try to put the bar back, your arms give out. Then there’s [...]

Why Is Pink Lemonade Pink?

Reader Michael Lefebvre asked us on Twitter: “What is the origin of Pink Lemonade?” Pink lemonade image via Shutterstock The pink drink first appeared in the United States around the mid-1800s, primarily at circuses and carnivals and then at street stands in New York City. The drink’s origins and inventor are heavily disputed though, and a handful [...]

Do Other Animals Laugh When Tickled?

Bizarre Image of Man Tickling Chimp via Shutterstock In 1897, psychologists established that there are two kinds of tickles. Knismesis is caused by very light movement across the skin. It doesn’t make you laugh, and is sometimes accompanied by an itching sensation. Knismesis is often caused by animals and insects crawling across the skin, and may have evolved in a [...]