The world is a strange and puzzling place, filled with interesting and often quite disgusting stories. Here are some snippets from our great world of weird things....
George Washington had dentures made from various materials, including the teeth of his slaves. Apparently schoolchildren are taught that he had wooden teeth but it has been found to be only partly true. In the early days of dental trickery dentures were very painful to wear and the materials used were often perishable (like wood). It was not unheard of for people to attend a battleground and to take the teeth of the dead to sell to dentists. It is believed this practice started following the battle of Waterloo as the stolen teeth were often referred to as Waterloo Teeth. This practice was also observed during the American Civil War.
CIA poison French Village with LSD
In 1951 the small French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit experienced a change come over some of their fellow residents. Many inhabitants reported feeling sick, disorientated and claimed to be having hallucinations. By the end of the day five people were dead as a result of the poisoning. Many theories came out at the time, the most popular being that the rye used in the flour of the local bakery had become infected with a fungus which can cause similar effects, but over the years documents have come to light that suggest the incident was actually an experiment on the effects of LSD on the general population.
The American Government were very keen to see how LSD could be used in warfare and many allegations about testing on the public have been made, sadly anything along these lines is instantly dismissed as conspiracy theory - which only helps conceal any wrong doings that were possibly true. The British Army were also known to have conducted experiments with LSD. In 1964 a number of troops were given a dose of the hallucinogen and asked to perform a normal training exercise. The results are HILARIOUS, take a look for yourselves:
At he bottom of the ocean lies a lake, a lake you could swim in. A lake that has a shore line and a tide. As you can see from the photo this diver is semi-submerged in one of these brine rivers. Brine (extremely salty water) is heavier than regular water and so it sinks and forms pools when it fails to get diluted into the larger body of water. Divers have reported finding full lakes of the stuff deep below the oceans surface with beautiful shorelines and tides which ebb and flow in the normal water. Pretty creepy looking but very cool!
War of the Worlds
Orson Welles' famous 1938 broadcast of HG Well's The War of the Worlds was said to have stirred panic in thousands of people when it went out over the airwaves. Newspapers reported people running from their homes terrified that aliens were about to overthrow and kill them, despite the broadcast having made a clear announcement about it being a play.
At that time, newspapers were facing a drop in sales due to radio becoming more popular. It seems that the newspapers most likely exaggerated the scale of the panic in order to show radio in a bad light, but this wasn't the only broadcast of this radio play. In 1949 the play was broadcast again in Equito, Ecuador. This time with far more drastic results. In the days running up to the broadcast the station manager had local papers print reports of strange sightings on the outskirts of the city. No mention of the broadcast being a play was made and when the people of Equito tuned in to listen they went into total panic.
People rushed to churches in large numbers looking for sanctuary, there were traffic jams in the streets as people tried to pack up and leave, even the police and army deployed and went to investigate the apparent attack. Far from being a humorous tale of human gullibility this story ends rather tragically. When it was finally revealed that the broadcast wasn't real angry mobs stormed the station and set it on fire. Three people died, including the station managers girlfriend and nephew, while he himself fled the country that night.
Paper Balloon Bombs
During WWII Japanese schoolchildren were asked to help create very thin and durable paper for the purpose of building paper balloons that would travel across the Pacific ocean. These balloons were designed to ride the jet stream and carry bombs onto American soil. At the time aircraft were not capable of making the journey without refueling, meaning a surprise attack on American soil was out of the question.
Japanese scientists managed to devise a system of timed release switches that would allow the balloon to be carried over the ocean at a height of 30,000 feet. Most of the devices were not successful, but some were. At the time the American government kept all reports out of the media, hoping that the lack of information on the balloon bombs would make the Japanese assume the experiments were a failure. At first the authorities had no idea where these balloons were originating from, but after analysis of the sand bags used as ballast it was concluded that they were from Japan.
Despite them not being as effective as hoped, the balloons did kill a few people. In 1945 a pastor and his pregnant wife took some children for a picnic where they found a large paper balloon. Sadly, five children and the pastors wife were killed when the bomb went off - the only enemy-inflicted casualties on the U.S. mainland in the whole of World War II. How many balloons were sent over is unknown but they still turn up sometimes. Just recently two forestry workers came across a strange device part buried in the woods around British Columbia. Thankfully they had the foresight to call the authorities who were able to remove the device without triggering it.
Stay tuned for more uselessly odd stories......