World’s Strangest

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Tituba, the Early American Witch

Barring fictional characters, a slave named Tituba is America’s most famous “witch.” She was there at Ground Zero in the case of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. But because she was a slave, her documented biography is sparse compared to other accused witches of Salem. Photograph by Flickr user ISD 191 Performing Arts Programs. Samuel Parris [...]

The Lancashire Witches 1612-2012

Four hundred years ago in northwest England, twenty people were arrested on witchcraft charges. We know so much about the Lancashire Witches because the trial was recorded in unique detail by the clerk of the court, Thomas Potts, who published his account soon afterwards as The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster. I [...]

Abraham Lincoln: Amazing Wrestler

This week we’re running a series of posts by Matt Soniak about Abraham Lincoln’s foray into forensic meteorology. If you missed the first installment yesterday, check it out. In the summer of 1831, 22-year-old Abraham Lincoln arrived in New Salem, a small town along the Sangamon River in Menard County, Illinois. He had come there to [...]

14 Literary Settings Inspired by Real Places

At the end of a good book, don’t you just sometimes close the back cover, sigh, and think, “I wish I could be there.” Good news: in some cases, you can. While you’re probably never going to make it to Narnia or Hogwarts (I know – I’m disappointed, too) here are a handful of “fictional” [...]

Cop Pulling D.A.R.E. Trailer Charged with DUI

Scott and Tina Robbins called 911 after hearing a crash in the street outside their home in Salem, Indiana. A truck had hit a tree so hard that the vehicle appeared to be wrapped around it. The truck was driven by John Newcomb, a Seymour, Indiana police officer. “He was sitting on the wall out of [...]

Statues from Movies and TV

Detroit mayor Dave Bing reached out to citizens of the internet for suggestions for how to invigorate his city. One of the suggestions that came in yesterday was that Detroit should erect a statue of Robocop, from the 1987 film Robocop, which was set in Detroit. The mayor seemed to dismiss the idea out of [...]

Why Is Cthulhu on This 300-Year-Old Gravestone?

Jess Nevins of io9 has pictures of the tombstone marking the grave of Rev. Ichabod Wiswall (1637-1700) in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Though largely forgotten today, Wiswall was a prominent political figure in 17th Century Massachusetts. It is unclear why his grave bears the image of cosmic entity Cthulhu: Duxbury does not feature in any of Lovecraft’s fiction; [...]

Famous Trials: The Witches of Salem

Here’s a bit of American history we’re all familiar with… but know almost nothing about. The BRI wants to change that, because we don’t want witch trials -or with hunts- in our era. After all, someone just might decide that reading in the bathroom is a sign of demonic possession. (Image credit: Flickr user Lexie Rydberg) BACKGROUND [...]

Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels in Malaysia

Forget the namby-pamby cigarette warning label we have here in the United States. Here’s a very graphic warning label from cartons of Malaysian clove cigarettes. Alas, even these warning labels do not have much effect on smokers. From World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific’s smoking statistics: - About half of all Malaysian men smoke. [...]

motionbox.com presents our Oct. HDYK Winners!

On behalf of the good folks over @motionbox.com, Josh Halbur and I are thrilled to announce this month’s winners: Jon Hammond took the Motionbox premium membership and Kit Hughes won the HD cam. Working with their teams, each turned in all the right answers along the trail. As did most of you who entered! So a [...]