Interest­ing Wikipedia articles

(Light edits have been made in order to comply with the Van Hoorn house style.)

28th Virginia battle flag Saint Paul, Minn.

A slightly torn Confederate battle flag.
The battle flag was captured at the Battle of Gettysburg by Private Marshall Sherman of the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment, and remained in Sherman’s possession in Minnesota after being inventoried by the United States War Department in 1867.
Although various groups in Virginia have requested that the flag be returned, beginning as early as 1960, Minnesota has repeatedly declined to return it, with governor Jesse Ventura asking Why? I mean, we won.

33 Thomas Street Manhattan

A windowless concrete building juts up into the sky. There are four prominent air vents on its side.
It is often described as one of the most secure buildings in America, and was designed to be self-suf­fic­ient with its own gas and water supplies along with gen­er­a­tion cap­abil­ities and protected from nuclear fallout for up to two weeks after a nuclear blast.
33 Thomas was described as the likely location of an NSA mass sur­veill­ance hub codenamed Titan­pointe in an investigation by The Intercept[
] the investigation ties the facility to a nearby FBI building, and its rooftop equipment to the NSA’s Skidrowe satellite in­tel­li­gence system.

1808 mystery eruption Papua New Guinea?

A graph with a noticible spike up in 1808
A study of Greenland and Antarctic ice cores in the 1990s found markers that implied that a massive volcanic eruption had occurred in early 1809. The problem facing climatologists and volcanologists was that there were no recorded eruptions of the order of significance needed in this period.

Project A119 the Moon

The terminator of the moon.
The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon, which would help in answering some of the mysteries in planetary astronomy and astrogeology.
If the explosive device detonated on the surface, not in a crater, the flash of explosive light would have been faintly visible to people on Earth with the naked eye.

Anders als die Andern Berlin

A poster for a film titled ‘Anders als die Andern’.
Anders als die Andern is a German film produced during the Weimar Republic. It was first released in 1919 [and] was intended as a polemic against the then-current laws under Germany’s Paragraph 175, which made homo­sex­ual­ity a criminal offense. It is believed to be the first pro-gay film in the world.
Cen­sor­ship laws enacted in reaction to films like Anders als die Andern even­tual­ly re­strict­ed viewing of this movie to doctors and medical re­search­ers, and prints of the film were among the many "decadent" works burned by the Nazis after they came to power in 1933.

Anti-Mask League of San Francisco San Francisco

A man in a mask working at a barbershop.
Initial com­pli­ance with the mask ordinance was high with an estimated 80% of people wearing masks in public. [
] Anyone who failed to wear a mask or wore it im­pro­per­ly was charged with dis­turb­ing the peace, warned and for sub­se­quent viol­a­tions, fined or jailed.
[A]n estimated 4 000 – 5 000 citizens showed up to a meeting to protest the second ordinance in January 1919. Oppos­ition to similar ordi­nances during the covid-19 pandemic in the United States led to renewed interest in, and com­par­is­ons with, the Anti-Mask League.

Willem Arondeus Amsterdam

A well-dressed 40-something man, with white skin and slick dark hair
Willem Arondeus was a Dutch artist and author who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi re­sist­ance movement during the second world war. He part­ici­pat­ed in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office to hinder the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews and others wanted by the Gestapo.
Mr Arondeus was openly gay before the war and defiantly asserted his sexuality before his execution. His final words were Tell the people that homo­sex­uals are not by de­fin­i­tion weak.

OrganÂČ/ASLSP Halber­stadt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

A church organ
The most recent note change occurred on October 5, 2013, and the next change will not occur until September 5, 2020. The per­form­ance is scheduled to end on September 5, 2640.

Baby Jesus theft

A nativity scene conspicuously without the baby Jesus.
In his autobiography, The Long Hard Road out of Hell, the American singer Marilyn Manson admitted playing a prank in which he and a few friends stole figurines of Jesus then replaced them with hams. They sent a communique to a newspaper posing as a black radical group saying that it was a protest against ‘the plasticisation of the black man’s wisdom with the so-called “white Christmas”.’ 

Bald–hairy Moscow

Hairy Joseph Stalin and bald Nikita Krushchov
The bald–hairy joke is that there is, apparently, a strict rule applying to Russia’s politics for the latest two centuries. A bald (or obviously balding) state leader is succeeded by a non-bald (hairy) one, and vice versa. While this pattern is most likely a coincidence, it has held true since 1825, starting from Nicholas I.

Ball lightning Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon

A ball of lightning enters a home, shocking the residents
The ball of fire reportedly divided into two segments, one exiting through a window by smashing it open, the other disappearing somewhere inside the church. Because of the fire and sulphur smell, contemporaries explained the ball of fire as the devil or as the flames of hell.

Bark Mitzvah Beverly Hills, Calif.

A dog in a yarmulke
The Bark Mitzvah [
] can occur when the dog turns 13 months or 13 years of age. During some Bark Mitzvahs, dogs wear a tallit, a ritual prayer shawl worn during Jewish religious services and ceremonies.
In 1997, the first widely recorded Bark Mitzvah was celebrated, receiving scrutiny and disapproval from several rabbis. One rabbi expressed his distaste for Bark Mitzvahs in a letter to the editor of The New York Times, describing the celebration as nothing less than a desecration of a cherished Jewish tradition and claiming that Bark Mitzvahs degrade some of the central principles of Jewish life.

Boring Billion Columbia & Rodinia, Earth

Stratified rock
The Boring Billion, otherwise known as the Barren Billion, the Dullest Time in Earth’s History, and Earth’s Middle Ages, is the time period between 1.8 and 0.8 billion years ago spanning the middle Prot­ero­zoic éon, char­act­er­ised by more or less tectonic stability, climatic stasis, and stalled bio­log­ic­al evolution.

John Brown Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

A well-dressed white man with his arms crossed smirks for the camera.
Mr Brown advocated the use of armed in­sur­rec­tion to overthrow the in­stitu­tion of slavery in the United States. He first gained national attention when he led small groups of volunteers during the Bleeding Kansas crisis of 1856. He was dis­satis­fied with the pacifism of the organized aboli­tion­ist movement: These men are all talk. What we need is action — action!

Burnt house horizon southeastern Europe

A map marked with the approximate areas of Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Crimea, Hungary, Slovakia, and Montenegro.
Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements were completely burned every 75–80 years, leaving behind successive layers consisting mostly of large amounts of rubble from the collapsed wattle-and-daub walls.
Whether the houses were set on fire in a ritualistic way all together before abandoning the settlement, or each house was destroyed at the end of its life (e.g. before building a new one) it is still a matter of debate.

Cagot France and Spain

Some people around a fire
The Cagots were not an ethnic nor a religious group. [...] Their only distinguishing feature was their descent from families long identified as Cagots. Few consistent reasons were given as to why they were hated; accusations varied from Cagots being cretins, lepers, heretics, cannibals, to simply being intrinsically evil [...] almost everything that is known about them relates to their persecution. The repression lasted through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Industrial Revolution, with the prejudice fading only in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Cat gap North America

An amphicyonid
The cat gap is a period in the fossil record of ap­prox­im­ate­ly 25 to 18.5 million years ago in which there are few fossils of cats or cat-like species found in North America. The cause of the cat gap is disputed, but may have been caused by changes in the climate (global cooling), changes in the habitat and en­viron­ment­al ecosystem, the in­creas­ing­ly hyper­carni­vor­ous trend of the cats (especially the nimravids), volcanic activity, evo­lu­tion­ary changes in dental morphology of the CanidÊ species present in North America, or a pe­riod­ic­ity of ex­tinc­tions called van der Hammen cycles.

Cannonball Run challenge New York–Los Angeles, U.S.

A collage of two city streets
The Cannonball Run is an unsanctioned speed record, typically accepted to run from New York City's Red Ball Garage to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach near Los Angeles, a distance of about 2,800 miles (4,500 km).
Police-evasion modifications included brake light kill-switches, radar detectors, laser diffusers, CB radio, and a roof-mounted thermal camera.

Chabad messianism Brooklyn

A portrait of Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Since the Rebbe’s death, there are those who have persisted in the belief that Schneerson is still the Messiah, sometimes extremely vocally. Chabad messianists either believe Schneerson will be resurrected, or refuse to admit that he died, instead proclaiming that he is still alive.

Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office Westminster

A cat with a British flag bow-tie sits in the cabinet office
The chief mouser to the Cabinet Office is the title of the official resident cat of the prime minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street. There has been a resident cat in the English government employed as a mouser and pet since the 1500s, although modern records date only to the 1920s.
Affinity for the cat divided along partisan lines: Con­serv­at­ive voters liked the cat far more when they were told he was Margaret Thatcher’s and Labour voters liked the cat far more when they were told he was Tony Blair’s.

Cistercian numerals Leicester

A concordance using strange-looking symbols.
Digits are based on a horizontal or vertical stave, with the position of the digit on the stave indicating its place value (units, tens, hundreds or thousands). These digits are compounded on a single stave to indicate more complex numbers. After the Cistercians abandoned the system in favor of the Arabic numerals, marginal use continued until the early 20th century, with Freemasons, occultists and Nazis all briefly flirting with it.

Cobweb painting East Tyrol, Austria

A blurry picture of a small painting.
Fewer than 100 cobweb paintings are known to exist, many of which are housed in private collections.

D. B. Cooper Portland, Ore.

A composite sketch of a white man in his mid-40s with combed back hair
Dan Cooper is the pseudonym of an un­identi­fied man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the northwest United States, in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24, 1971.

The man purchased his airline ticket using the alias Dan Cooper but, because of a news mis­com­muni­ca­tion, became known in popular lore as D. B. Cooper. He extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,260,000 in 2019) and parachuted to an uncertain fate.

Despite an extensive manhunt and protracted FBI in­ve­sti­ga­tion, the per­pe­tra­tor has never been located or identified. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in commercial aviation history.

Darvaza gas crater Darvaza, Turkmenistan

A flaming crater in the ground
Geologists in­ten­tion­al­ly set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, and it is thought to have been burning con­ti­nu­ous­ly since 1971.
In 2019, [the president of Turkmenistan] appeared on state television doing doughnuts around the crater to disprove rumours of his death.

Terry A. Davis Las Vegas

A man crouched on the ground, excitedly holding a CRT monitor.
What people are going to read is, ‘It’s about a pathetic schizo­phrenic who made a crappy operating system.’ My per­spect­ive is, ‘God said I made His temple.’

Disappearing blonde gene United Kingdom

A woman with long blonde hair and her back turned to the camera
The dis­appear­ing blonde gene was a hoax about how a scientific study had estimated that natural blonds would become extinct, repeated as fact in reputable media such as the BBC and the Sunday Times between 2002 and 2006. Claims that blond hair would disappear have been made since 1865.

Diving horse Atlantic City, N.J.

A horse diving from a pillar into a river
A diving horse is an attraction that was popular in the mid-1880s, in which a horse would dive into a pool of water, sometimes from as high as 18 metres.

Dreamachine Paris

Two men gaze into a whirling device of coloured light
It is claimed that by using a Dreamachine meditatively, users enter an alphawave, or hypnagogic state. This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one's eyes.

Erfurt latrine disaster Erfurt, Th., Germany

A mediĂŠval portrait of a king on his throne.
The combined weight of the assembled nobles caused the wooden second story floor of the building to collapse and most of them fell through into the latrine cesspit below the ground floor, where about 60 of them drowned in liquid excrement.

Euthanasia Coaster London

A schematic of a rollercoaster, beginning on an extremely tall drop, then with gradually smaller and smaller loops.
Subsequent inversions or another run of the coaster would serve as insurance against un­in­ten­tion­al survival of passengers.
John Allen, who served as president of the Phil­adelphia Toboggan Company, inspired designer Julijonas Urbonas with his de­scrip­tion of the ultimate roller coaster as one that sends out 24 people and they all come back dead.

Sir Ewan Forbes, 11th Baronet Craigievar, Aber.

A youthful man looks up at the camera.
The birth registration recorded a female child, but Sir Ewan later commented that this was ‘a ghastly mistake’.

GĂ€vle goat GĂ€vle, GĂ€strikland, Sweden

A goat statue made of straw stands in the middle of a city square, covered in snow.
The GÀvle goat is a tra­di­tion­al Christmas display erected annually at Slotts­torget (Castle Square) in central GÀvle, Sweden.
Added security measures in 2020: Double fence, 24-hour CCTV. Two guards patrol around the goat frequently, 24-hours a day, along with a K9 unit.

June and Jennifer Gibbons Haverfordwest, Pembs.

Broadmoor Hospital
Their language became even more idio­syn­crat­ic at this time; soon, it was un­in­tel­lig­ible to others.
I’m free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.

Globster St. Augustine, Fla. (& al.)

An amorphous mass of... some biological material or other
Many globsters have initially been described as gigantic octopuses, though they later turned out to be decayed carcasses of whales or large sharks.

Manfred GnÀdinger Camelle, Galicia, Spain

A nearly nude man, with tanned white skin and long blond hair and beard, stands at the entrance to a hut.
He lived a very simple and natural life, building sculptures on the beach where he lived and tending to his small garden. In November 2002, when the oil spill of the Prestige destroyed his sculptures and the ecosystem of the area he lived in, it is thought that he let himself die of melancholy and sadness, thus becoming a symbol of the de­struct­ion unleashed by the oil spill.

Carl Griffith’s sourdough starter Sequim, Wash.

A lump of yeast peeks out of a plastic tub.
Carl’s starter has a long history, dating back at least to 1847, when it was carried along the Oregon Trail by settlers from Missouri to Oregon. It was then passed down as an heirloom within the family of Carl Griffith, who shared it via Usenet in the 1990s. Since the year 2000, it has been maintained and shared by a dedicated historical preservation society; its volunteers keep the starter alive, feeding the organisms flour and water, and mail free samples worldwide on request for use by bakers in seeding their own cultures.

Heavenly Mother (Mormonism) Salt Lake City

An ancient inscription of a Goddess
In addition, a secondhand account states that in 1839, Smith had told Zina Diantha Huntington, after the death of her mother, that not only would she know her mother again on the other side, but more than that, you will meet and become acquainted with your eternal Mother, the wife of your Father in Heaven.

Hebenon Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks.

A murder taking place
Hebenon (or hebona) is a botanical substance described in William Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet. The identity and nature of the poison has been a source of speculation for centuries.

The Hole San Jacinto, Calif.

Two nondescript prefabricated trailers.
Inside, a who’s who of Scient­o­logy leadership went at each other with brutal tongue lashings, and even hands and fists. They in­timid­ated each other into crawling on their knees and standing in trash cans and confessing to things they hadn’t done. They lived in degrading conditions, eating and sleeping in cramped spaces designed for office use.

If Day Winnipeg

Simulated German soldiers harass a newspaper carrier
If Day was a simulated Nazi German invasion and occupation of the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and sur­round­ing areas on 19 February 1942, during the Second World War.
Books were burned in front of the main Carnegie branch of the Winnipeg Public Library (the books had been pre-selected for in­ciner­a­tion as damaged or outdated).

Indra’s net

Indra riding an elephant
‘Indra’s net’ is an infinitely large net of cords owned by the Vedic deva Indra, which hangs over his palace on Mount Meru, the axis mundi of Buddhist and Hindu cosmology. In this metaphor, Indra’s net has a multifaceted jewel at each vertex, and each jewel is reflected in all of the other jewels. In the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism, which follows the Avatamsaka Sutra, the image of ‘Indra’s net’ is used to describe the interconnectedness of the universe.

Infinite monkey theorem Paignton, Devon

A monkey sitting at a typewriter
A monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shake­speare.
Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, the lead male began striking the keyboard with a stone, and other monkeys followed by soiling it.

Khecarī mudrā India

A diagram showing the tongue going progressively further back in the mouse.
Khecarī mudrā is a hatha yoga practice carried out by curling the tip of the tongue back into the mouth until it reaches above the soft palate and into the nasal cavity. In the full practice, the tongue is made long enough to do this with many months of daily tongue stretching and by gradually severing the lingual frenulum with a sharp implement over a period of months.

List of sexually active popes Vatican City

A portrait of Pope Paul II, a stout man with a typical monk’s haircut of the time.
Paul II: Thought to have died of in­di­ges­tion arising from eating melon, though it has been suggested that he died while being sodomised by a page.

The Mad Pooper Colorado Springs, Colo.

A blurred photo of a woman running
Ms Budde assumed [the jogger] would return quickly to clean up the fĂŠces, and never again jog in the area due to the embarrassment the incident caused. Instead, the Buddes found feces at the same spot on the sidewalk at least once a week. Paper napkins and wipes the jogger had used to clean herself were often nearby. On three occasions Ms Budde saw the woman defecate. The Budde children began calling her The Mad Pooper of Pine Creek after a stream that flows through the neighborhood.

Rodney Marks Antarctica

A satellite photo of a base in Antarctica
On 11 May 2000 Rodney Marks became unwell while walking between the remote observatory and the base. He became increasingly sick over a 36-hour period, three times returning increasingly distressed to the station’s doctor. Advice was sought by satellite, but Mr Marks died on 12 May 2000, age 32 with his condition undiagnosed. The whereabouts of the station doctor, Robert Thompson, are unknown.

Max Headroom signal hijacking Chicago

A man wearing a latex mask of the TV character Max Headroom.
The video ended with a pair of exposed buttocks being spanked with a flyswatter before normal pro­gram­ming resumed. The culprits were never caught or identified.

Ken McElroy Skidmore, Mo.

A plaque marking the site of Mr McElroy’s grave.
Over the course of his life, Mr McElroy was accused of dozens of felonies, including assault, child molest­a­tion, statutory rape, arson, hog and cattle rustling, and burglary.
The next day, Mr McElroy was shot to death in broad daylight [
] from at least two different firearms, in front of a crowd of people estimated as between 30 and 46. [
] Only Ms McCloud claimed to identify a gunman; every other witness either was unable to name an assailant or claimed not to have seen who fired the fatal shots.

Memphis Pyramid Memphis, Tenn.

A large glass-walled pyramid in the middle of a city.
The Memphis Pyramid has not been regularly used as a sports or en­ter­tain­ment venue since 2004. In 2015, the Pyramid re-opened as a Bass Pro Shops megastore, which includes shopping, a hotel, res­taur­ants, a bowling alley, and an archery range, with an outdoor ob­ser­va­tion deck adjacent to its apex.

Merkel-Raute Berlin

Angela Merkel putting her fingers together, the thumb a distance from the rest, forming roughly the shape of a diamond.
[T]he youth wing of the CDU organised flashmobs in which members gathered in a circle while imitating the gesture in several public places in Germany.

Mill Ends Park Portland, Ore.

A small plant in the middle of a road.
The park is a small circle 2 ft (0.61 m) across, with a total area of 452 sq in (0.292 mÂČ).
[Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan] told this story of the park’s origin: He looked out the window and spotted a leprechaun digging in the hole. He ran down and grabbed the leprechaun, which meant that he had earned a wish. Fagan said he wished for a park of his own, but since he had not specified the size of the park in his wish, the leprechaun gave him the hole.

Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass Durham, N.C.

A bridge at a particularly low height over a road.
Commonly known as the 11-foot-8 Bridge and nicknamed The Can-Opener or The Gregson Street Guillotine

Despite numerous warning signs about the low clearance, a large number of trucks, buses, and RVs have collided with the overpass at high speed, tearing off roof fixtures, and at times shearing off the trucks’ roofs, earning the bridge the nickname the Can-Opener.

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Plot E Aisne, France

An otherwise empty field marked only with small numbered plaques.
All in­di­vid­uals currently interred in Plot E were found guilty at general court martial of the capital crimes of rape and/or murder.
Officially, Plot E does not exist: it is not mentioned on the ABMC website or in any guide pamphlets or maps. The plot is accessible only through the back door of the super­in­tend­ent’s office.
Unlike the marble monuments and inscribed standing headstones of the regular plots, Plot E contains nothing but 96 flat stone markers (arranged in four rows) and a single small granite cross. The white grave markers are the size of index cards and have nothing on them except sequential numbers engraved in black. The intention was that individual graves would be impossible to identify

Onfim Novgorod

A child’s drawing of himself as a dragon.
Onfim, who was six or seven at the time, wrote in Old Nov­go­rod­ian; besides letters and syllables, he drew battle scenes and drawings of himself and his teacher.

Osborne Reef Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Miles upon miles of desolate tires bed the ocean floor
As there were no exceptional efforts made to ensure the non-corrosivity of the steel restraints, they summarily failed — resulting in the loosing of over two million individual, lightweight tires. This newfound mobility destroyed any marine life that had thus far grown on the tires, and effectively prevented the growth of any new organisms. Furthermore, the tires were now easily subject to the tropical winds and storms that frequent the east coast of Florida, and continue to collide (at times with tremendous force) with natural coral reefs only 70 feet (21 m) away: compounding their uselessness with environmentally damaging side-effects.

Greg Packer Huntington, N.Y.

He has been quoted in more than 100 articles and television broadcasts as a member of the public (that is, a man on the street rather than a newsmaker or expert).
His quotes have ranged from the expression of common sentiments, such as It’s a day for happiness and to be together, regarding a St. Patrick’s Day parade, to colorful statements such as his opinion of a New York Yankees game played on Yom Kippur: There’s no way the Yankees will lose, but if they do, they will certainly have something to atone for.

Phallus paintings in Bhutan Punakha, Bhutan

A door flanked by two well-endowed paintings
Drukpa Kunley’s intention was to shock the clergy, who were uppity and prudish in their behaviour and teachings of Buddhism. However, his ways appealed to lay practitioners. It was he who propagated the legend of painting phalluses on walls and flying hanging phalluses from roof tops of houses to drive away evil spirits and subdue demonesses.

Possible monorchism of Adolf Hitler Germany

Hitler and his wife.
Hitler’s doctor Erwin Giesing and his personal physician Theodor Morell disregarded the idea of Hitler's monorchism and said there was nothing wrong with Hitler's testicles. However, Hitler often refused to undress for medical exams.

Prince Philip Movement Yaohnanen, Tanna, Vanuatu

Two men holding pictures of themselves with Prince Philip
According to ancient Yaohnanen tales, the son of a mountain spirit travelled over the seas to a distant land. There, he married a powerful woman and in time would return to them. [
] They had seen the respect accorded to Queen Elizabeth II by the colonial officials and concluded that her husband, Prince Philip, must be the son referred to in their legends.

Project Azorian Pacific Ocean

A boat at sea.
Project Azorian was a CIA project to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129 from the Pacific Ocean floor in 1974, using the purpose-built ship Hughes Glomar Explorer.
The Soviet Union was unable to locate K-129, but the U.S. knew where to look. [..T]he U.S. identified an acoustic event on March 8 that likely originated from an explosion aboard the submarine. The U.S. zeroed in on the location to within five nautical miles (9.3 km). The recovery operation in inter­nation­al waters about six years later used as its cover mining the sea floor for manganese nodules.

Project MKUltra United States

A redacted government document.
Once Project MKUltra got underway in April 1953, ex­peri­ments included ad­minister­ing LSD to mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts, and sex workers—people who could not fight back, as one agency officer put it. In one case, they ad­ministered LSD to a mental patient in Kentucky for 174 days. They also ad­ministered LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, and members of the general public[
] The aim of this was to find drugs which would bring out deep con­fes­sions or wipe a subject’s mind clean and programme them as a robot agent.

Public Universal Friend Jerusalem, N.Y.

A portrait of an androgynous person in black clerical robes, white cravat, and no head covering.
The Friend suffered a severe illness in 1776 and reported having died and been reanimated as a genderless evangelist named the Public Universal Friend, and afterward shunned both birth name and gendered pronouns. In andro­gynous clothes, the Friend preached throughout the north­eastern United States, attracting many followers who became the Society of Universal Friends.
The Public Universal Friend rejected the ideas of pre­desti­na­tion and election, held that anyone regardless of gender could gain access to God’s light. Calling for the abolition of slavery, the Friend persuaded followers who held people in slavery to free them.

Dixy Lee Ray Tacoma, Wa.

A smiling woman sits in a chair.
Dixy Lee Ray was a US-American scientist and politican who served as the 17th governor of the U.S. state of Washington. [...] She won the election despite her blunt, sometimes confrontational, style. As governor, she approved allowing supertankers to dock in Puget Sound, championed support for unrestrained growth and development, continued to express enthusiasm for atomic energy, and declared a state of emergency as a result of the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Mitt Romney dog incident Belmont, Mass.

Their dog, Seamus, rode in a carrier on the roof of the family's Chevrolet Caprice station wagon for the 12-hour trip. [...] The Romneys were first alerted to the Irish Setter’s bowel issues when Tagg noticed brown liquid pouring down the back window, followed immediately by he and his younger brothers yelling in disgust.

Ryugyong Hotel Pyongyang

A tall, modern pyramidal building, surrounded by much shorter apartments.
Con­struc­tion began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the dis­solu­tion of the Soviet Union. After 1992, the building stood topped out, but without any windows or interior fittings. In 2008, con­struc­tion resumed, and the exterior was completed in 2011. [
] The building remains unopened.
Had it opened on schedule, it would have surpassed the Westin Stamford to become the world’s tallest hotel, and would have been the seventh-tallest building in the world.

Samson Option Dimona, Israel

The biblical Samson pushing apart the pillars of a temple.
The name is a reference to the biblical Israelite judge Samson who pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Phili­stines who had captured him, crying out Let me die with the Phili­stines!
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Arab forces were over­whelm­ing Israeli forces and prime minister Golda Meir authorized a nuclear alert and ordered 13 atomic bombs be readied for use by missiles and aircraft. The Israeli ambassador warned president Richard Nixon of very serious con­clu­sions if the United States did not airlift supplies. Nixon complied.

Shakers Sabbathday Lake, Maine

A painting showing everyday Shaker life at the peak of their popularity.
They were initially known as Shaking Quakers because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. They practice a celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, uniform cha­ris­ma­tic worship, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they in­stitu­tion­al­ised in their society in the 1780s.
During the mid-19th century, an Era of Mani­fest­a­tions resulted in a period of dances, gift drawings, and gift songs inspired by spiritual re­vel­a­tions. At its peak, there were 2000-4000 Shaker believers.
As of 2017, the only remaining active Shaker community in the United States has three members: Brother Arnold Hadd, Sister June Carpenter, and Brother Andrew.

Khalid Sheldrake Kashgar, Xinjiang

Khalid Sheldrake, born Bertie William Sheldrake, was an English pickle manufacturer who converted to Islam and in 1934 was briefly declared king of the short-lived state of Islamestan in the Xinjiang region of China in the Warlord era.

Stalking Cat Tonopah, Nev.

Stalking Cat (born Dennis Avner) was an American man known for his extensive body modifications, which were intended to increase his resemblance to a tiger. For his 14 surgical procedures towards that goal, he held a world record for most permanent transformations to look like an animal.

Star war Mesoamerica

A Mayan glyph representing a star war.
An in­scrip­tion from a monument found at Tortuguero (dating from 669 CE) describes the aftermath of a star war: the blood was pooled, the skulls were piled.
The dates of recorded star wars often coincide with astr­onom­ic­al events involving the Planet Venus, either when it was first visible in the morning or night sky or during its absence at inferior con­junc­tion. Venus was known to Meso­american civil­is­a­tions as the bringer of war.

St. Scholastica Day riot Oxford

Groups of mediĂŠval students rioting in a field.
The dis­turb­ance began when two students from the University of Oxford complained about the quality of wine served to them in the Swindle­stock Tavern, which was based at Carfax, in the centre of the town.
University halls and students’ ac­com­mod­a­tion were raided and the in­habit­ants murdered; there were some reports of clerics being scalped.

Timeline of the far future the Universe

The Earth being swallowed up by the Sun.
2.8 billion years from now: All life, which by now had been reduced to uni­cellular colonies in isolated, scattered micro­en­vi­ron­ments such as high-altitude lakes or caves, goes extinct.

Time Pyramid Wemding, Bavaria

Three concrete pillars overlooking a field and farms
As of 2020, the first 3 of its scheduled 120 concrete blocks have been placed.

Two by Twos Rathmolyon, Co. Meath

Three preachers.
The church does not explicitly publish any doctrinal statements, claiming these must be orally imparted by its ministers, referred to as workers. Doctrine of the church teaches that salvation is available only by accepting the preaching of its homeless, unsalaried ministry workers and by attending the group's home meetings. The orthodox Christian Trinitarian doctrine is rejected, and members are told to deny any church name.

Vela incident Prince Edward Islands, S. Africa

The Vela satellite under construction.
The cause of the flash remains officially unknown, and some in­form­a­tion about the event remains classified. While it has been suggested that the signal could have been caused by a meteoroid hitting the satellite, the previous 41 double flashes detected by the Vela satellites were caused by nuclear weapons tests. Today, most in­de­pen­dent re­search­ers believe that the 1979 flash was caused by a nuclear explosion — perhaps an undeclared nuclear test carried out by South Africa and Israel.

Virtual House of Commons Westminster

A nearly-empty Commons chamber with video screens displaying the face of Boris Johnson.
[The initial vote] was followed the next day by a vote on an amendment to the Agri­culture Bill, where a number of MPs voted against the bill by mistake, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. This led Labour’s Shadow En­vi­ron­ment Secretary Luke Pollard to ask the Government’s deputy chief whip Stuart Andrew How many members of the Cabinet voted the wrong way?, to which Mr Andrew replied: Just the one. He’s a very busy man.

Wojtek Hamadan, Iran

A soldier feeding a bear cub.
Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear bought, as a young cub, at a railway station in Hamadan, Iran, by Polish II Corps soldiers who had been evacuated from the Soviet Union. In order to provide for his rations and trans­port­a­tion, he was eventually enlisted officially as a soldier with the rank of private, and was sub­se­quent­ly promoted to corporal.
Wojtek initially had problems swallowing and was fed condensed milk from an old vodka bottle. He was sub­se­quent­ly given fruit, marmalade, honey, and syrup, and was often rewarded with beer, which became his favourite drink. He later also enjoyed smoking (or eating) cigarettes, as well as drinking coffee in the mornings. He also would sleep with the other soldiers if they were ever cold in the night.

Wow! signal Columbus, Ohio

The data output of a radio telescope, with one part circled and labelled ‘Wow!’
The signal appeared to come from the direction of the cons­tel­la­tion Sa­git­ta­rius and bore the expected hallmarks of extra­ter­res­tri­al origin.

Xenu Clearwater, Fla.

A DC-5 aeroplane.
Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of psych­ia­trists, he gathered billions of his citizens under the pretense of income tax in­spec­tions, then paralyzed and froze them to capture their souls.
Official Scient­o­logy scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm.

Yahwism the Levant

An ancient inscription of two bulls.
Yahwism was the historic mono­la­trist­ic worship of Yahweh in the ancient Israelite kingdoms of Judah and Israel (Samaria), Yahweh being one of the many gods and goddesses of the pantheon of gods of the Land of Canaan. Yahwism thus evolved from Canaanite polytheism, making Yahwism the mono­la­trist­ic primitive pre­de­ces­sor stage of Judaism in Judaism’s evolution into a mono­the­ïst­ic religion.
The deity most commonly worshiped alongside Yahweh was Asherah, venerated as Yahweh’s consort or mother. In the Canaanite pantheon, Asherah was El’s consort.

Boris Yeltsin circling over Shannon diplomatic incident Co. Clare, Ireland

An aeroplane lies on the tarmac at Shannon airport.
On 30 September 1994, Boris Yeltsin, then president of the Russian Federation, was scheduled for an official state visit to the republic of Ireland but failed to get off his plane when it landed at Shannon Airport. The incident embarrassed the Irish government, in particular taoiseach Albert Reynolds who was left standing at the foot of the stairs to Mr Yeltsin’s plane, and raised questions about Mr Yeltsin’s health and fitness to serve.

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Page last updated: 2022 June 1

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