World’s Strangest

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We Are All Americans: The World’s Response to 9/11

© Michel Setboun/Corbis A decade ago this week, people all over the world stood shoulder-to-shoulder in mourning, solidarity, sympathy and friendship with the people of the United States. Here are few of those international reactions, both organized and spontaneous, that occurred in the days following September 11, 2001. In London, the Star Spangled Banner played during [...]

What Pope John Paul II Did with the Bullet that Nearly Killed Him

It was a little over 30 years ago (May 13, 1981) that Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt that came dangerously close to claiming his life. He was struck with four bullets: two in the lower intestine, one in his left hand and one in his left arm. The wounds were so bad [...]

Pope’s blood to be built into altar

Pope John Paul II to be honored by having a vial of his blood ensconced in a Polish church. Beatification, the process of pronouncing a deceased perso…

Pope John Paul II on road to beatification

Pope Benedict XVI has approved a miracle attributed to his predecessor, John Paul II. Pope John Paul II was credited with the miraculous cure of a nun…

The Quick 10: 10 Alterations to the Hollywood Sign

What’s a girl to do for fun after the Grammys and all of the post-Grammy parties are over? Well, if you’re Ke$ha, you round up a limo, a group of friends, some sheets and some spray paint and you go deface the Hollywood sign (maybe. We’ll get to that in a second). Even though the [...]

The Quick 10: 10 People Pronounced Dead a Bit Prematurely

Pope Benedict XV died on January 22, 1922, which isn’t all that notable by itself – after all, he was 67 and had been suffering from a pretty bad case of pneumonia all month. What is notable is that he had been declared dead several days before he actually died thanks to a foible by [...]

Why Are Flags Flown at Half-Staff in Times of Mourning?

On Friday, President Obama ordered that all U.S flags should be flown at half-staff until Veterans’ Day to honor the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. Flying a flag at half-staff has become a well-recognized symbol of national grieving, but where did this tradition originate, and how does the decision to lower the flag work? How [...]

You’ve Got a Friend in Me?! 4 Bizarre Friendships

This summer, mental_floss co-founder Mangesh Hattikudur read a book called Picking Cotton, the story of a college student named Jennifer Thompson who misidentified the man who raped her. A decade after his conviction, thanks to a DNA test, Ronald Cotton was exonerated. The real twist, however, is that against all odds, Thompson and Cotton are [...]