World’s Strangest

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The Time 18th-Century French Aristocrats Fled to Rural Pennsylvania

In 1793, the French Revolution was in full swing. Royal sympathizers—nobles, military officers, clergy, and other aristocrats—were guaranteed a sharp kiss from the guillotine. Frightened, thousands of aristocrats fled to neighboring countries like Austria and Prussia. A small handful of Nobles, however, escaped to a place so obscure that they were able to start their [...]

Morbid Road Trip: American Medical Oddities

On our last macabre getaway, we planned an almost-cross-country trip to see various items tied to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. This time around, we’re hitting the road to gawk at cadavers, outdated instruments and the rest of America’s finest medical curios and anatomical monstrosities. Let’s go! 2000+ Objects Removed from People’s Throats © Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS We’ll start, [...]

A Short History of Long-Haired Music: Amadeus, Part 1

If you missed our previous installments, check out A Short History of Long-Haired Music archives Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was what some scholars[1] have called “the fillet of the Classical epoch…easily the most impressive composer of his time.” In fact, it could be argued that Mozart was not only the most impressive composer of his time, [...]

Germany Makes Final Reparations Payment for World War I

In 1919, after the close of World War I, Germany was assessed 226 billion marks in reparations payments against its foes. On Sunday, that nation will pay its final installment of this bill: The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations [...]

Enter the Chamber of Horrors: Madame Tussaud

The subject of our final post for our week of women is Marie Grosholtz (1761-1850), although you probably know her as Madame Tussaud. The French-born, Swiss-reared Grosholtz was a wax model prodigy – she made her first wax figure (Voltaire, above left) at the tender age of 17. (Her life is so interesting we had [...]

On The Road: 5 Great Stops Along I-55

In our continuing coverage of flossy diversions along America’s roadways (you can read the first two posts here and here), this week we take a look at the northeast-running expanse of Interstate 55 between St. Louis and Chicago. Making up the eastern end of Route 66, this path connects two of this country’s largest cities, [...]

What Happened to Marie Antoinette’s Children?

The tragic tale of Marie Antoinette’s death during the French Revolution is the stuff of legend. But while the story of Marie Antoinette ends with her death by beheading on October 16, 1793, the tragedy of her family continued to unfold long after her death. Marie Antoinette and her husband, the Dauphin, were married for seven [...]