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22 Absolutely Mind-Boggling Facts I Learned This Week That I Truly Will Not Be Forgetting Any Time Soon

🚨 Warning: This article contains mentions of murder, death, and other sensitive topics. 🚨

1. If the thought of going number two in a public restroom grosses you out, then just be glad you weren’t an astronaut on board the Apollo spacecraft. The Apollo astronauts didn’t have a space toilet, and instead had to use a plastic bag with an adhesive that they stuck to their bodies. After finishing their business, they had to add disinfectant to the bag, and then knead it by hand until it was all mixed together. All of their poop bags made the journey back to Earth with the astronauts.

astronaut in space

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2. Gouverneur Morris, who was the author of the final draft of the US Constitution, might have one of the most gruesome death stories I’ve ever heard. After suffering from a painful blockage in his urinary tract, Morris decided to take matters into his own hands and inserted a whale bone into his penis to try to clear up the blockage.

portrait of Morris

Not only did the bone fail to dislodge the blockage, Morris also got a gnarly infection from his self-performed surgery. He died as a result of the infection in 1816. To make things interesting, he died in the same room that he had been born in.

old portrait labeled the Leader of the Continental Congress

3. Ever wondered if there was an actual difference between green and white asparagus? Turns out they’re the same species! White asparagus is just asparagus that’s never been exposed to light. Its shoots are covered with soil so that the plant can avoid photosynthesis. White asparagus is actually a delicacy in Europe, but is not produced in the United States.

asparagus and white asparagus

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4. Ted Kaczynski was dubbed «The Unabomber» by the FBI because his earliest mail bombs were sent to universities (UN) and airports (A). Over 17 years, Kaczynski carried out 16 bomb attacks that killed three people and injured 23.

his mug shot

5. Richard Chase was a serial killer who went down in history for drinking the blood of his victims after ruthlessly killing them. He was even known as the «Vampire of Sacramento.» As a child, Chase exhibited disturbing signs and was often cruel to animals. After his father kicked him out of their house, he turned to drugs and alcohol, which exacerbated his mental illness. He convinced himself that he was a walking corpse, and told others that his heart would stop. Chase also believed that his cranial bones were shifting, and shaved his head so he could monitor the movement of his skull.

old photograph of Richard

By age 25, Chase was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was dubbed «Dracula» by fellow patients at his psychiatric hospital after they saw him trying to drink the blood from dead birds. Despite this behavior, he was released and sent to live with his mother. By the mid-1970s, Chase had been kicked out of several apartments for killing animals and drinking their blood. In 1977, Chase’s mother refused to let him come home for Christmas, which set off a month-long murder spree that took the lives of six people.

his mug shot from Sacramento

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Police were able to trace the crimes to Chase due to his love of blood. During one of his killings, a neighbor knocked on the door, which startled Chase. He fled, but the neighbor contacted the police, who figured out Chase was the trespasser. They went to his apartment, where all of the utensils were covered in blood and his fridge was full of human brains. He was arrested and sentenced to death. Chase overdosed on anxiety medication in prison and died in 1980.

his mug shot in Reno

6. While most household pets look and act very different from their ancestors after centuries of domestication, cats remain mostly unchanged from their ancestors. They actually domesticated themselves, in part because the two lineages cats come from were solitary hunters without a social hierarchy, meaning it would have been incredibly difficult for humans to domesticate them.

Giphy / Via giphy.com

7. While you probably think of rum when you think of Captain Morgan, there actually was a real Captain Morgan that the drink was named after. Sir Henry Morgan left his family in Wales to become the leader of a powerful group of pirates called the Brethren of the Coast. The Brethren controlled the entire Caribbean. He was supposedly a generous captain and a great leader but was ruthless to those who crossed him, even going so far as to strangle prisoners until their eyeballs popped out.

old painting of Morgan

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Morgan led an army of pirates to fight against the Spanish and snapped up territory and riches. He led a charge to capture Panama and succeeded in 1671. Using the gold he amassed through his pirate adventures, Morgan bought land in Jamaica, and eventually became the governor.

a painting of killings on a ship

8. During Arnold Schwarzenegger’s required year of service in the Austrian Army, he disappeared for a week to participate in a bodybuilding contest. Schwarzenegger won the contest, but was caught and was forced to serve a week in military prison. Looks like the punishment was worth it because the contest win paved the way for Schwarzenegger to move to Hollywood.

a young Arnold posing to show off his muscles

9. While I was under the assumption that all vodka came from potatoes, only 3% of vodkas worldwide are made from potatoes. Most vodka is actually made from grains, wheat, or rye, but vodka connoisseurs say that vodka made from potatoes is typically the most flavorful.

Showtime / Via giphy.com

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10. King David Kalākaua, the final Hawaiian king and the first to be elected and not appointed, saved Hawaiian culture by embarking on a world tour. When missionaries came to Hawaii, many native Hawaiians died from disease. The missionaries also stoked racial tensions. As king, Kalākaua was determined to boost Hawaiian culture and tradition and decided to embark on a world tour.

the king in uniform

In 1881, he left Hawaii and visited Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. The trip took 281 days. As a result of his journey, Kalākaua became the first reigning monarch to circumnavigate the globe.

old photograph of the king

11. The smell of old books is truly unmatched. The scent, which is called lignin, is released when the materials used in the production of the book react with light, heat, and water. While the scent typically depends on what the book was made out of, most books have a vanilla-like smell.

WB / Via giphy.com

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12. After the 2014 death of Robin Williams, members of ISIS took to Twitter and forums to write about how his movies were impactful on their lives. This angered some members, because they condemned Williams for criticizing ISIS’s mission.

close up of Williams

13. Butterflies often «mud puddle,» a process during which they extract, then eat, the salts that are found in mud, blood, and feces. Apparently, it’s very nutritious!

Sci-Universe / Via giphy.com

14. Paul McCartney’s song «Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)» was written because of a bet. Dustin Hoffman told McCartney that he couldn’t write a song about any old random thing. McCartney disagreed, so Hoffman grabbed a magazine, flipped to a random page, and challenged McCartney to write a song about the article, which was on the death of Pablo Picasso. McCartney wrote the song on the spot.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9NobdV5Kxw8?autoplay=0&cc_load_policy=0&controls=1&disablekb=0&enablejsapi=1&fs=1&hl=en&iv_load_policy=1&loop=0&playsinline=0&start=0&modestbranding=0&showinfo=0&embed_config=%7B%22adsConfig%22%3A%7B%22nonPersonalizedAd%22%3Afalse%7D%7D&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com&widgetid=1Apple Records / Via youtube.com

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15. Maybe some current Senators should brush up on this one! Senate Rule XIX states that a US Senator cannot insult their colleagues. The rule, which dates back to 1902, was established after a fistfight between Senators erupted during a debate about a treaty relating to the annexation of the Philippines.

close up of the capitol

16. Forrest Mars, who created Peanut M&M’s, couldn’t even enjoy his own invention because he was allergic to peanuts.

chocolate M&Ms

17. There are actually a few reasons why fire trucks are red. The most obvious is that humans associate the color red with urgency, so seeing a red vehicle speeding down the street clued them into the fact that there was an emergency nearby. There’s also a theory that fire trucks were actually painted red because it was the cheapest paint color available at the time. Some have attempted to debunk this, saying that red paint wasn’t the cheapest, but stations painted their trucks red to evoke a sense of pride. Others believe that fire trucks are red because virtually all early cars were black, so the red stood out.

Fox / Via giphy.com

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There’s also a big difference between a fire engine and a fire truck, despite the fact that the terms are often used interchangeably. A fire engine typically transports the water necessary to fight fires until firefighters can access a fire hydrant, while fire trucks carry the ladders and other important equipment.

a firetruck in the city

18. While William Shakespeare’s grave now shows him holding a quill, the original grave actually depicted the playwright holding a bag of grain. In 1747, the citizens of Stratford-upon-Avon replaced the bag with a quill. Some believe the quill was to honor his plays, while others say the grain was removed because Shakespeare grew wealthy dealing grain during a time of famine.

inside a mausoleum with stained glass art and tall candles

19. When Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, was 14 years old, he wrote a letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt congratulating him on his re-election. The letter also contained a plea. «If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green American, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green American and I would like to have one of them,» Castro wrote.

Castro and the former president side by side portraits

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20. When Frank Sinatra died on May 14, 1998, his ambulance was able to avoid all of the Los Angeles traffic en route to Cedar-Sinai, reaching the hospital in record time. So why was there so little traffic? Everyone was home watching the two-hour Seinfeld finale event.

close up of Sinatra smiling

Many Seinfeld fans were unsatisfied by the show’s ending, which found the characters on trial in a small town for not helping a person who was being mugged. Critics quickly forgot the poorly received finale, as the news was full of tributes to Sinatra.

Hulu / Via giphy.com

21. I’m confident that the price of a Costco hot dogwill remain $1.50 until the end of time. The hot dog has cost $1.50 since it was introduced in 1984, and has stayed the same price ever since, even as other food items, like the store’s dollar pizza slices, have risen in price due to inflation. That’s not to say people haven’t tried to raise the price. When the company’s president complained the store was losing money on the hot dogs, Costco CEO, Jim Sinegal, refused to budge. «If you raise [the price of] the effing hot dog, I will kill you,» Sinegal said. «Figure it out.»

close up of someone holding a hot dog with ketchup and mustard

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22. Sabiha Gökçen, a Turkish pilot, is believed to be the first female combat pilot in the world. Gökçen was one of several children adopted by Turkish president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Soon after, Atatürk granted women the right to vote and empowered them to take up passions like aviation. Gökçen was enchanted by flight and enrolled in flight school, where she became the first Turkish woman to receive her pilot’s license.

close up of Gökçen by plane propellers

In 1936, Gökçen embarked on her first solo flight. From there, she began training as a military pilot. By 1937, she completed her first solo combat mission. She continued flying and made headlines for her solo trip to the Balkans. While she retired from flying in 1964, she lived long enough to see an airport in Istanbul become named in her honor in 2001.

Gökçen flying a combat plane

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