The internet is filled with information. Much of that information is full of facts of all kinds. Some are useful, and some are not. Some are eye-opening, and some are not worth knowing. But what about the strange and unusual facts, the facts that make you feel uneasy, the ones you wished you didn’t know, the ones that make you question the world around you? Here are 15 totally strange facts that will make you feel uneasy.
1. There is an active Amazonian rainforest tribe that used to eat their own dead as a form of respect.
The Wari’, also known as “Pakaa Nova,” is an indigenous Brazilian tribe currently living in the Amazon rainforest. The Wari’ were known to eat the members of their own group, specifically those who have died, as a form of utmost respect.
After dying, the closest relatives of the deceased would hug and embrace them and leave their body resting, usually for three days. The time depended mostly on how long it took for members from other settlements to arrive for the funeral. As the climate in the Amazon is hot and humid, the body usually began to decompose, becoming bloated and discolored before preparation.
Preparation involved mourning rituals and other ceremonies, building a fire, removal of visceral organs, and roasting the body. The decedent’s closest family members would not eat the body, but attendant relatives were urged to do so. The consumption of the flesh was thought to suppress the family’s grief, as it meant the soul of the deceased was being kept in the living body of relatives as opposed to being abandoned.
Today, Wari’ do not practice cannibalism, and they bury their dead after two or three days of mourning. There are 2,721 Wari’ according to 2006 data.(source)
2. There is a website that allows you to hear the last words of plane crash victims.
PlaneCrashinfo.com has a variety of transcripts and MP3 recordings of the last words spoken before pilots and passengers crashed to their deaths. This site was created for investigative purposes, but the information and sound bites are readily available to the public. It is advised to not listen to the recordings if you are too sensitive.(source)
3. In the Victorian era, it was common to take photos with the recently deceased members of your family.
Post-mortem photography was common in the nineteenth century when “death occurred in the home and was quite an ordinary part of life.” Long exposure time made deceased subjects easy to photograph according to author Mary Warner Marien,
“Post-mortem photography flourished in photography’s early decades among clients who preferred to capture an image of a deceased loved one rather than have no photograph at all.”
Photographers used different devices to hold the deceased to make them look alive. As the photo process was long, subjects would have to hold their deceased loved ones for extended periods of time to achieve the perfect shot. Pupils were commonly painted onto the print to make the bodies look more alive.(source)
4. “Tinku” is a festival in Bolivia where people beat each other for two or three days straight.
Tinku is a Bolivian Aymara tradition that began as a ritual-based form of combat. Tinku is Aymaran for “physical attack.” During this ritual, people from different communities will gather and begin the festivities by dancing. The women form circles and begin chanting while the men fight each other. It’s rare for women to join in on the fights but not completely usual.
The tradition started with the indigenous belief in Mother Nature (Pachamama). The combat is a form of praise and bloodshed because lives lost during the combat are considered to be sacrificial. This is done to appease Pachamama in hopes of a fruitful harvest and fertility.
Tinku lasts for two or three days with sporadic intermissions for participants to eat, sleep, or drink.(source)
5. In 1945, an entire German town committed suicide to avoid being harmed by the Soviet Red Army.
In May of 1945, hundreds of people in the town of Demmin, Germany committed suicide after a mass panic that was caused by atrocities committed by the Soviet Red Army. The inhabitants of Demmin took their own lives to prevent the soldiers from doing any more damage. The death toll estimates vary, but it is known to be the largest mass suicide ever recorded in German history. This was part of a mass suicide wave amongst the population of Nazi Germany.
Many families committed suicide together by drowning themselves in the rivers, hanging themselves, cutting their wrists, and shooting themselves. Mass graves were used to bury the bodies after the war.(source)
6. The popular nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” may be about the bubonic plague.
The rhyme’s first printed appearance was in 1881, but it’s been reported that the song was being sung since the 1790s in a similar manner across Europe. It’s been said that the song was originally about the Great Plague of London, although the idea has been rejected by folklorists.
The idea surfaced in 1951, when Peter and Iona Opie, leading authorities on nursery rhymes, said:
“The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, and posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and “all fall down” was exactly what happened.”
In a line, it mentions “ashes” which is believed to be the reference to the cremation of the bodies, the burning of infected households, and the darkening of the skin of infected persons.(source)
7. Premature burials were common in the 19th century.
“Premature burial” is a term used for people who may be buried alive accidentally due to the mistaken assumption that they are dead. Revivals of what appeared to be corpses have been triggered by people dropping coffins, grave robberies, the embalming process, and during autopsies. Incidences have been documented nearly since the 1890s of patients accidentally being sent to the mortuary after being falsely declared dead.
In 1885, The New York Times reported that a man’s body from Buncombe County was found turned over onto its front inside the coffin with a large portion of his hair pulled out. The coffins interior contained scratch marks and his family was reportedly “distressed beyond measure at the criminal carelessness” associated with the case.
A similar story was reported in The New York Times in 1886. A girl named Collins from Woodstock, Ontario was described as being found with her knees tucked up under her body, and her burial shroud torn.(source)
8. Bugs can crawl into your ear and nest while you are sleeping.
After returning from a vacation in Peru, the British tourist Rochelle Harris started experiencing headaches, shooting pains on the side of her face, and an unusual discharge from one of her ears. Worried from the symptoms along with a constant scratching sound, Harris went directly to her doctor’s office after she made it home to England.
Initially, the doctor diagnosed Rochelle with an ear infection, but then specialists discovered her ear was filled with flesh-eating larvae of the screwworm fly Cochliomyia hominivorax. The fly is notoriously known as a pest that seeks out livestock, pets, zoo animals, and occasionally humans.
Pregnant, female screwworm flies seek out open wounds on the skin of a warm-blooded animal to lay eggs. Within a day, the eggs hatch into tiny larvae that feed on tissue and bodily fluids.(source)
9. Scientists have been able to bring a dog back to life as well as keep a decapitated dog’s head alive for hours.
In the 1940 motion picture Experiments in the Revival of Organisms, the Soviet documented their research into the resuscitation of the clinically dead. The film is currently available in the public domain.
Without going into much technical detail, the scientists conducted a series of medical experiments in the video. First, a heart is shown being isolated from a body with four tubes connected to it. It then shows a lung in a tray, operated by bellows, oxygenating blood.
We are then shown the operation of an outdated heart-lung machine, the “autojektor,” supplying a dog’s head with oxygenated blood. The head responds to external stimuli, but the film does not show the connections to the head, possibly due to the gruesomeness of the video.
Eventually, a dog is brought to clinical death by draining all its blood. After ten minutes, it’s then connected to the heart-lung machine described earlier. Moments after, the heart fibrillates before regaining a normal rhythm. The dog continues to breathe, the machine is removed, and the dog continues living a happy healthy life.(source)
10. When you die, that last thing you will lose is your sense of hearing.
According to a staff specialist in palliative care at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, a person that’s about to die will typically sleep more. It’s encouraged for loved ones to speak to those in the final stages of life as electroencephalograms (EEGs) have shown time and time again that the last sense to go is usually the sense of hearing.(source)
11. When a human body dies it loses about 21 grams of weight. Some believe that this weight is the human soul.
In 1901, MacDougall weighed six patients that were in the process of dying from tuberculosis. Once it was determined that death was only a few hours away, the patient’s entire bed would be placed on an industrial-sized scale which was reported to be weight-sensitive to “two-tenths of an ounce”. His results displayed that when the “soul” departed the body, the body weighed less. The conclusion that the “soul” weighs 21 grams was based on the loss of mass in the first patient at the moment of death.
MacDougall later tried the same experiment on fifteen dogs in similar circumstances and reported the results as “uniformly negative,” as there was no change in mass. To him, his results confirmed that the “sou”‘ had weight, and that dogs did not possess “souls.”(source)
12. Humans have already begun to inject RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chips in their skin to be traced and authenticated.
The first known experiment with a RFID implant was carried out in 1998 by the British scientist Kevin Warwick. He used his implant to open doors, switch on lights, and cause verbal output within a building. He removed the implant after nine days, and it has since been held in the Science Museum (London).
After British scientist Mark Gasson had an advanced, glass-capsule, RFID device implanted surgically into his left hand, his team demonstrated how a computer virus could infect his implant wirelessly and be used to infect other systems. Because of our developing understanding of what is technically a part of our bodies, Mark Grasson is credited as the first human to be infected by a computer virus.(source)
13. The Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral was recorded in the house where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by the followers of Charles Manson.
The Downward Spiral was conceived after the 1991 Lollapalooza Festival tour as a pivot for Reznor’s personal issues and the “negative vibe” felt by the band. Reznor moved to 10050 Cielo Drive, Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, where the actress Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family. He used the house as a studio he called “Le Pig” for recording Broken and The Downward Spiral with collaborations from other musicians.
The name “Le Pig” came from the message that was scrawled on the front door with Tate’s blood by her murderers. It should also be noted that the second song on the album is titled “Piggy.” Reznor stayed in the house for 18 months. He recounted his first night there as “terrifying” because he knew what had happened there and read books related to the incident.
The house was also used as Marilyn Manson’s studio for the debut album Portrait of an American Family which Reznor co-produced.(source)
14. Hiroshima survivors grew black fingernails which were strange, rod-shaped fingernails that contained active blood vessels and bled profusely when they broke off.
Twenty-six-year-old Yoshio Hamada was 900 meters away from the hypocenter of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan when he was exposed to the radiation. Yoshio’s hands were on a windowsill, and when the bomb detonated, the heat rays burned his hands so badly that his flesh and nails began to peel and hang from his fingertips.
After losing about a centimeter off of the ends of his fingers, peculiar black, rod-shaped nails began to grow at the nubs. These nails, however, contained blood vessels, and when they broke, large amounts of blood would pour out. Just like normal nails, when they were broken and/or cut, they would grow back.(source)
15. Sugar Ray Robinson backed out of a fight because he had a dream that he was going to kill his opponent. After being convinced to fight, he went into the ring and killed his opponent.
In June of 1947, Sugar Ray Robinson was scheduled to defend his title for the first time but backed out of the fight due to a nightmare he had which was about killing his future opponent, Jimmy Doyle in a boxing match. After seeing a priest and a minister, Sugar Ray was convinced to continue the fight, but sadly, his bad dream was more of a foreshadowing. On June 25, 1947, Robinson knocked Doyle unconscious to retain his title. Jimmy would die hours later at St. Vincent’s Charity Hospital.
Ray Robinson was threatened with manslaughter but was never actually charged. When Robinson got word that Doyle was using his winnings to purchase his mother a new home, Sugar Ray donated the money from his next four matches to Jimmy’s mother.(1,2)