World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!

mental_floss on NPR!

Research editor and regular Kara Kovalchik will be on Talk of the Nation this afternoon to discuss her recent story 11 Sounds Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard. Tune in! We’ll get a link up to the interview if such a link is made available.

Head on Brain in Brain

Henry Head, in a photograph taken in 1914 or in some other year, the documentation being unclear. by Marc Abrahams, Improbable Research staff Nowadays not many people read Brain on Head in Brain. That could change, because this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Russell Brain’s mostly-admiring six-page essay called “Henry Head: A Man [...]

Edward Gorey’s Letters and Illustrated Envelopes

Author and editor Peter F. Neumeyer exchanged letters with author and illustrator Edward Gorey over a 13-month period in 1968 and 1969. Now that correspondence has been turned into a book called Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer. Of course, Gorey included illustrations with his letters, even on the envelopes! [...]

How Marty McFly Met Doc Brown

One of the authors at mental_floss asked managing editor Jason English a question he couldn’t answer, so he asked the readers. “Is it ever explained why Marty hangs out with Doc Brown? He’s just in Doc’s house to start the movie and it’s just implied that they’re good friends.” — Brett Savage Among the many comments at that [...]

Oregon State House of Representatives Rick Rolls Itself

(Video Link) I offer four hypotheses to explain the awesomeness of this video: 1. A video editor carefully sifted through hours of floor speeches and spliced together the lyrics to Rick Astley’s song. 2. The clerks working for the legislators are pulling a huge, well-orchestrated prank. 3. The legislators are reading letters from constituents, who are the true pranksters, [...]

Top Quizzes of ‘09: Name the EU in 10 Minutes (#2)

Editor’s Note: We’re counting down this year’s most popular quizzes. Coming in at #2 is a name-x-in-y-minutes challenge suggested by reader Tucker Cummings, which we first posted back on January 16th. We’ve already tested your knowledge of state capitals. Today’s quiz, which was suggested by reader Tucker Cummings, jumps across the pond. There are currently [...]

Top Quizzes of ‘09: Ralph Wiggum (#4)

Editor’s Note: We’re counting down this year’s most popular quizzes. Coming in at #4 is Brett’s quiz on Ralph Wiggum, which we first posted back on January 26th. Of all the brilliant characters the writers of The Simpsons have gifted to popular culture over the years, Ralph Wiggum is one of the few who make me [...]

Top Quizzes of ‘09: Famous TV Houses (#5)

Editor’s Note: We’re counting down this year’s most popular quizzes. Coming in at #5 is Mario’s quiz about identifying famous TV houses, first posted June 22nd. The setting for a television show is almost as important as the main characters. The moment you saw the Cheers bar or Jerry Seinfeld’s living room, the familiar feeling instantly [...]

Top Quizzes of ‘09: Harry Potter Character or Skin Disease? (#8)

Editor’s Note: We’re counting down this year’s most popular quizzes. At #8, here’s a quiz that combines wizardry and dermatology, which was originally posted July 15th. The sixth Harry Potter movie hit theaters this summer. Wait, the sixth? In nine years? Does Hollywood have an anti-puberty spell for Daniel Radcliffe? Anyway, I devised this little test [...]

Bonus Quiz: Name the Presidential Runners-Up (1900-Present)

Editor’s Note: Baseball expert/food critic/bookworm Keith Law of ESPN is back with another week of quizzes. Make him feel welcome! One of the more popular mental_floss quizzes (#3!) asks you to name all the Presidents of the United States. But what about the runners-up? Can you name all 25 men who finished second in U.S. [...]