The human mind is an amazing thing. It has the ability to not just create and imagine, but to also be surprised, amazed, and amused by many things. Then again, our mind has that morbid curiosity for the weird and freaky things that happen in the world. That curiosity drives us to hear stories about such things, talk about them, or read about them, which also provides a healthy and risk-free way to experience them without actually doing them. So, here are 10 such weird facts that we are sure would blow your mind.
1. In any given year, the dates 4/4, 6/6, 8/8, 10/10, 12/12, and the last day of February will all occur on the same day of the week.
In 1973, an English mathematician named John Conway devised an algorithm called the “Doomsday Rule” to determine the day of the week for any given date. The algorithm was inspired by the work of Lewis Carroll, mathematician and author of Alice in Wonderland, on a perpetual calendar algorithm. It provides a perpetual calendar as well because the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar in the world, moves in 400-year cycles. The day of any date is calculated by using the fact that certain day of the week called the “doomsday” in any given year is always the day of the dates 4/4, 6/6, 8,8, 10/10, 12/12, and the last date of February. For example the doomsday for the year 2017 is Tuesday, which means all the above mentioned dates are Tuesdays.(source)
2. There is a fungus that looks like a brain and is actually edible. It’s known as “golden jelly fungus.”
Also known as the “yellow brain,” “yellow trembler,” and “witches’ butter,” the Tremella mesenterica or the “golden jelly fungus” is a common jelly fungus found in the deciduous and mixed forests. It is also commonly seen in the temperate and tropical regions of the world. This orange-yellow colored, gelatinous fungus can grow up to 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) wide and has a wrinkly, lobed surface which looks a bit like a brain. It grows in the cracks of the bark on recently fallen, but still attached branches.
The fungus usually appears during rains and dries up into thin films after a few days that regain its shape when it rains again. It is nonpoisonous, parasitic wood decay fungus that is edible but considered bland and flavorless. In China, it is used to make an immunomodulating soup and its gelatinous, rubbery consistency is said to lend texture to the soups.(source)
3. In a 2008 survey, it was revealed that 58% of British teens thought Sherlock Holmes was a real guy, while 20% thought Winston Churchill was not.
Around 3,000 British teenagers participated in a survey by UKTV Gold in which they were asked about various famous, real-life historical and fictional figures. More than 77% of the participants said that they did not read history books and 61% said that they changed channels when a history program was airing. The percentages of participants who voted that fictional characters were real are 58% for Sherlock Holmes, 51% for Robin Hood, 47% for Eleanor Rigby, and 65% for King Arthur. In case of real-life historical figures who were voted as fictional, 47%t for King Richard the Lionheart, 27%t for Florence Nightingale, and 20% for Winston Churchill.(source)
4. Female sand tiger sharks have two uteri carrying 50 eggs, but the strongest embryo in each eats the rest. The single surviving baby is born after the end of gestation.
The embryos of sand tiger sharks undergo a process known as intrauterine cannibalism, or embryophagy or adelphophagy, which literally means to “eat one’s brother.” The two uterine horns contain as many as 50 eggs that get their nutrients from the yolk. When one of the eggs reach around ten centimeters (four inches) in size, it starts to consume the all other eggs, both fertilized and unfertilized, in the embryo until its the only one left. This remaining embryo grows for eight to twelve months, after which a one-meter (3-foot) long baby shark is born following a very long labor. The sand tiger sharks have very low reproductive rates compared to other sharks as they give birth only once every two or three years.(source)
5. There is a blind guy who can ride his bike in traffic. Born blind, he figured out how to use echolocation by clicking his tongue and listening to the echoes.
Daniel Kish from California works with a non-profit organization known as World Access for the Blind to help train around 500 blind students in the technique he named “FlashSonar.” He has been blind since he was a baby and from an early age developed the ability to navigate using the echoes of tongue-clicks. Nicknamed the “real-life Batman,” he says the clicks help him know the object’s distance, size, texture, and density.
Though he cannot tell the difference between metal and wood, he says that during quiet times wood reflects a warmer and duller sound than metal. According to him, the imagery one could sense depends on their experience. An experienced echolocation user could sense more details, such as whether a building is ornamented or featureless. His echolocation ability is so good that he enjoys various outdoor hobbies, including mountain biking and hiking.(source)
6. Around four pounds of your body weight is the weight of trillions of bacteria in your gut.
The number of microorganisms outnumbers the number of cells in our body by ten to one. Being quite small in size, they make up for around one to three percent of human body mass. In an adult weighing 200 pounds, for example, there are two to six pounds of bacteria belonging to at least 10,000 species. However, not all bacteria are harmful and the ones residing in our body actually help us be healthy. The human body and these bacteria coexist in harmony preventing other harmful bacteria from entering and thus preventing infections most of the times.
More importantly, they aid our digestion by secreting enzymes that we cannot make for ourselves, but which are necessary to break down many proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, making it possible for us to absorb the nutrients. They also produce various beneficial compounds like vitamins and anti-inflammatories that we cannot.(source)
7. The giraffes can clean their ears and nose with their tongue.
Giraffes aren’t just the world’s tallest creatures, they also have very long tongues, almost 21 inches (53 centimeters). Their tongues come in handy when they have to reach for branches high above which they can’t reach despite their long necks. They also use their tongues to clean their ears and noses, if there’s anything to clean up.(1, 2)
8. An 18th-century Frenchman once ate a meal for 15 in one sitting, consumed live cats, puppies, and lizards, and swallowed an entire eel without chewing.
Since his childhood, Tarrare had an extreme appetite and by the time he was a teenager, he could eat a quarter of a cow. He soon took to roaming and thieving for food before becoming a warm-up act for a traveling charlatan’s show. He performed for the crowd eating almost anything, including corks, stones, live animals, and even swallowing a whole basket of apples. One time, he suffered severe intestinal obstruction when the act went wrong and had to be given a powerful laxative.
Tarrare later joined the French Revolutionary Army during the War of the First Coalition but was forced to scavenge for scraps as his rations weren’t enough to satiate his hunger. Despite his diet, he was very thin and he could wrap the skin over his abdomen around his waist when he hadn’t eaten. He always suffered from extreme exhaustion and during his military career had to be admitted to the hospital where the doctors tried to cure him.
The doctors couldn’t understand what was wrong with him. He had no mental illness and looked completely normal. He became the subject of medical tests to test his eating capacity. Among other things, he ate a meal meant for 15 people, live cats, snakes, lizards, puppies, and even an eel. When a 14-month-old child disappeared, the hospital staff suspected him and chased him out. Four years later he became infected with tuberculosis and died of bloody diarrhea.(source)
9. There is a parasite that servers and replaces the tongue of a fish. It then becomes a fully functioning, parasitic, but otherwise harmless, tongue for the rest of the fish’s life.
The parasite Cymothoa exigua, also known as the “tongue-eating louse,” enters the fish through its gills. The female then attaches itself to the tongue while the male attaches itself behind and beneath the female on the gill arches. It then cuts off the blood supply by severing the blood vessels. This causes the tongue to fall off after which the parasite attaches itself to the remaining stub of the tongue. The parasites feed either on the fish’s blood or on its mucus. After the fish’s death, the parasite detaches itself from the mouth, leaves the mouth cavity, but attaches itself to the body.(source)
10. In 1726, a woman managed to fool the doctors into believing that she had given birth to rabbits. She did this by inserting young rabbits into her vagina and pushing them out as if “birthing” them.
Mary Toft was an English woman born in 1701. She was married to a clothier and had three children with him. Being an 18th-century peasant and poor, she had to continue working in the fields while she was pregnant which led to painful complications. In August 1726, the complications led her to excrete several pieces of flesh and blood clots probably because of an abnormally developing placenta. On September 27, she went into labor and produced several animal parts. These parts were sent to a midwife, John Howard, who became interested in her condition, though reluctantly at first.
According to an account, on November 9, Howard delivered three legs of a tabby cat and one leg of a rabbit. He soon became a believer and moved Toft to Guildford, where he offered to deliver rabbits in front of anyone who doubted the story. This incident encouraged the Scottish surgeon and midwife teacher John Maubray who was a proponent of maternal impression, a belief that the pregnancy is influenced by what a mother dreams of. So, Maubray warned pregnant woman not to become over-fond of their pets for fear that their children would be born as animals.
Thomas Onslow, the second Baron Onslow, who had been carrying his own investigation found out that Toft’s husband was buying young rabbits. Toft was soon arrested for fraud but denied the accusations. After being threatened that a painful operation would be performed on her, she confessed in December 1726 that she learned to insert animals into her body from a traveling woman. She was imprisoned and released on April 8, 1727, while Howard was fined £800 (£107,000 today).(source)