World’s Strangest

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Why Did People Used to Wear Powdered Wigs?

For nearly two centuries, powdered wigs—called perukes—were all the rage. The chic hairpiece would have never become popular, however, if it weren’t for a venereal disease, a pair of self-conscious kings, and poor hair hygiene. The peruke’s story begins like many others—with syphilis. By 1580, the STD had become the worst epidemic to strike Europe since the [...]

The Historical Gift Guide: 15 of the Greatest Gifts in the History of Presents

Do you have a pal who always leaves you scratching your head when it comes to gifts? Perhaps something in our Historical Gift Guide will sound like the perfect present for the person in your life who has everything—everything except a 69-carat diamond, an eagle made of beer can tabs, and fire. 1. For Friends Abroad: [...]

How Did the States in the USA Get Their Names? (Part IV)

Reader Adam from Fairfax, Virginia, wrote in to ask, “How did the US states get their names?” This week, we’re tackling the origins and meaning of the names 10 states at a time. Here’s Massachusetts through New Jersey. (Be sure to also check out Monday’s post on Alabama through Georgia, Tuesday’s post on Hawaii through [...]

Klencke Atlas – The Largest Book in the World

The British Library has announced that the Klencke Atlas will have its first-ever public showing this summer as part of a map exhibition. It is almost absurdly huge – 1.75 metres (5ft) tall and 1.9 metres (6ft) wide – and was given to [Charles II] by Dutch merchants and placed in his cabinet of curiosities. At the [...]