20 Weird and Interesting Facts about Famous Historical Figures
16 Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, ran a 2 hour 46 marathon which was only 11 minutes longer than that year’s winning Olympic time.
Alan Turing was a regular runner, choosing to run when football was cancelled due to bad weather while he was at Sherbourne school. Though he preferred to row while an undergraduate at Cambridge, he started running seriously when he won his fellowship at King’s College. He would run a 50 km route between Cambridge and Ely, and back. During the qualifying event in the AAA marathon, which was also used as a qualifying event for 1949 Olympics, he came fifth. His time was 2 hours and 46.03 minutes, which was very good back in those days.(source)
17 Elvis Presley had severe constipation and actually died while pooping because of a condition called “megacolon”.
Elvis Presley suffered from obesity and chronic constipation. Though the doctors tried to treat it and suggested colostomy, removal of part of his colon, which was the primary treatment for constipation in 1975, Elvis refused. According to his doctor, George Nichopoulos, the constipation upset him a lot. He felt he ought to be able to handle anything and wasn’t going to be weak. Unfortunately, it was this untreated constipation that killed him.(1, 2)
18 Amelia Earhart wrote a prenup to her fiance, George Putnam, stating that she wanted an open marriage and that ” I shall not hold you to a medieval code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly”.
Amelia Earhart loved her freedom and had a spirit for adventure since early childhood. Being an aviation pioneer, she holds the record of being the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She met George Putnam during the 1920s and he proposed to her six times before she finally agreed to marriage, though she still held a lot of hesitation. Her ideas about marriage were very liberal and she believed that both, man and woman, must be equally responsible. She referred to her marriage as a partnership with dual control and wrote a letter, that she hand delivered to Putnam, on their wedding day telling him that they would not bind each other to a medieval code of faithfulness.(1, 2)
19 William Shakespeare wrote his own epitaph as a curse to ward of grave robbers. It says “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.”
Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and was survived by his wife and two daughters. Two days after his death he was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church. His grave is covered by a stone slab with the carving of an epitaph cursing anyone who moved his bones, and it was carefully avoided during the restoration of the church in 2008. Another funerary monument was erected, sometime before 1623, on the north wall of the church, showing him in the act of writing, with a plaque that compares him to the Nester, Socrates and Virgil.(source)
20 Aristotle believed that the brain was just a minor organ for cooling the blood and the heart, and a place for the spirit to reside.
The brain had been associated with conflicting ideas by many ancient medical practitioners. In the 4th century BC, Aristotle thought that the brain was merely a cooling organ for the heart and a place for the spirit. He called this space in which all the spirits came together as sensus communis, what we now call “common sense”. He wrote that “There is nothing in the intellect that is not in the senses.” But these ideas were discarded Alexandrian anatomists as early as the 1st century AD, who provided a general physical description of the brain, and the Roman physician Galen later concluded that all mental activity occurred in the brain, not the heart as Aristotle thought.(source)
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