World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!

The Great New England Vampire Panic

Although European vampire panics died out in the 1700s, America had its share of scares in the 1800s, particularly in New England, and particularly during outbreaks of tuberculosis. Some of the dead were dug up and killed a second time, just to make sure. The particulars of the vampire exhumations, though, vary widely. In many cases, [...]

How the Pogo Stick Leapt From Classic Toy to Extreme Sport

In the past few years, you’ve seen YouTube videos that scare you out of ever buying a pogo stick for the children in your family. They used to jump just a few inches off the ground! But not long ago, three inventors—toiling at home, unaware of one another’s existence—set out to reimagine the pogo. What was [...]

Chickens Dressed as Famous Historical Figures

Chickens, which outnumber humans, have become what two Smithsonian magazine writers call “the ubiquitous food of our era.” As part of its exploration of the history of chicken as a source of food for humans, the magazine asked photographer Timothy Archibald to dress raw chickens as personages from human history. He selected, among others, [...]

The Best Science Visualizations of the Year

The International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge from Science Magazine and the National Science Foundation award honors to the best images, illustrations, videos, games, and graphs of the past year that clearly communicate scientific information. Smithsonian magazine is proud to present a gallery of the winners, with an explanation of what each represents. This illustration [...]

The World’s Largest Collection Of Toy Soldiers

There are thousands of tiny soldiers locked in eternal combat in Valencia, Spain, housed in the Museo de los Soldaditos de Plomo (museum of the little lead soldiers). What started as a small collection belonging to Museum Director Alejandro Noguera’s father has become a collection of over one million, with 85,000 on display in diorama scenes [...]

How the Humble Bar Changed American History

If you ask Christine Sismondo about prohibition, she’ll tell you it didn’t have nearly as much to do with alcohol as it did with trying to close down the saloon. And that’s a key distinction if you, like her, consider the American bar to be the equivalent of the London coffeehouses and Paris Salons. Sismondo contends [...]

Say It From the Heart

Colorful flowers and expensive jewelry are nice. But nothing says true love like heart-warming sentiments conveyed in a fraction of a square-inch on a piece of candy. This year, when you give your sweetheart a big box of everyone’s favorite chalk-like messaged confections, you can also dazzle him or her with some nifty knowledge of their [...]

How Did Whales Evolve?

Hundred of millions of years ago, sea creatures crawled up on land and started to become mammals. Then much later, a few went back into the sea, but left few fossils to show us how they did it -or at least that’s what we used to think. For more than a century, our knowledge of the [...]

The Top 10 Daily Consequences of Having Evolved

Sure, we’ve got opposable thumbs and larger brains, but was the path of human evolution all that it’s cracked up to be? At Smithsonian magazine, Rob Dunn points out ten problems that we face today as a result of the evolution of our species. Here’s one: 4. Unsupported intestines Once we stood upright, our intestines hung down [...]

A Yuletide Gift of Kindness

An anonymous benefactor in Canton, Ohio placed a newspaper ad near Christmas in 1933 and asked for people in need to contact him. At the height of the Great Depression, many were in dire straits and responded by mail. The mysterious “B. Virdot” sent $5 (a generous sum at the time) to 150 families. Virdot [...]