Top 10 Bizarre Home Menageries

A home menagerie – every child’s dream! But some children never seem to grow up as is evidenced by the large number of private zoos discovered around the world by law enforcement officials. While it can be legal to have your own private zoo, oftentimes it is not. This list looks at ten unusual cases of people owning and maintaining a menagerie for their own pleasure.

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In September 2009, police raided a small home in the New York suburb of Queens, expecting to find the owners in possession of illegal substances. What they found, was quite a bizarre surprise. The garage was littered with cages, housing a monitor lizard, a baby python and two iguanas. Also found at the home were: a baby caiman, four geckos, two marmosets, three tarantulas, seven adult pitbulls, 1 pitbull pup and a bulldog. The Center for Animal Care & Control was dispatched, and while the home itself was in a state of disrepair, reports were that the animals were fairly well taken care of.

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Former cab driver, turned New York Real Estate billionaire Tamir Sapir, 61, had his luxury yatch boarded by the US Customs and Border Protection division in late 2007. Officers seized approxmiately $85,000 worth of specimens including: bar stools upholstered with python and anaconda skin, seven carved elephant tusks, hides of jaguars, tigers and zebras, a cigarette holder made from python skin, a cigar box wrapped in elephant hide, a zebra skin lined children’s bed and a fully stuffed and mounted lion. Sapir was charged with 29 counts of attempting to import items in violation of the Endangered Species Act and slapped with a $150,000 fine. A statement from his attorney explained that Sapir was not trying to smuggle the goods into America, they were simply part of the decor of his “home away from home”.


On a passengar bus travelling from Poland to Ukraine, Border Officials were conducting a routine inspections for prohibited items. All seemed fine until they reached the cargo hold where, packed into various sized luggage, they discovered: two miniature kangaroos, five miniature ponies (each approx 50- 60cm in height) and eleven pheasants. One of the ponies was appeared pregnant. The bus driver denied knowledge of any illegal activity and claimed the luggage was delivered to him with instructions to transport them to an unknown person in Lviv, Ukraine.


Local residents phoned police and the Rock County Humane Society when they became disturbed by the presence of a dog tied to the second story balcony of the Memorial Avenue home. Upon entering the home, the discovered: six chickens, thirteen rabbits, two ball pythons, one cat, a snapping turtle, several cages full of mice and rats and (according to the source) “one native snake of unknown origin”. Officials released the turtle and snake into the wild, while the remaining animals went to the care of the Humane Society. It is believed that the owners were planning to sell the animals, except for the rats and mice, which were used as food for the pythons.


Police received several reports of a foul stench coming from a suburban Wisconsin home, belonging to a woman named Jamie Verburgt. State Conservation Warden, William Mitchell was asked to inspect the property, where he found nearly 200 animals including: alligators, scorpions, 70 ducks, snakes, rats, turtles, toads and carnivorous beetles. In an adjacent garage, Mitchell discovered the decaying corpses of ‘roadkill’ which the owner had used to feed the animals. On top of this, carcasses of raccoons, rabbits, opossums and squirrels were found in the owner’s freezer. In a very closely related case, four years earlier Verburgt’s boyfriend, John Walters was prosecuted for mistreatment of exotic animals. At the time his home was raided by police who seized: a female cougar, female leopard, silver-tailed fox, monitor lizard, two caracals, a coatimundi, chinchilla and reticulated python.

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Approximately 185 animals were found living in deplorable condition at a home in Apache Junction, Arizona. Neighbours suspected mistreatment of animals and made several pleading phone calls to police before any action was taken. Included in the 185 were: 47 dogs, 96 rabbits, 18 chickens,13 goats, six horses, two cats, one pot-bellied pig, African parrot and cockatiel. In a muddy area on the other side of the property, police found a horse, undernourished and poorly cared for – it was euthanised shortly after.

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A man was pulled over for a routine check, and police were astonished when he opened his hatchback to reveal over 1000 animals cramped into the small space. The animals were: 1000 terrapins, 216 budgies, 300 white mice,150 hamsters, 30 Japanese squirrels and six chameleons. Driver, Francesco Lombardo admitted smuggling the animals across Europe with the intention of selling them.

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How could we talk menagerie’s without mention of Michael Jackson’s collection of strange and wonderful animals? Since Jackson’s death in September, all the animals have been sent to new homes. Amongst the more memorable were: Bubbles, the chimpanzee (Center for Great Apes, Wauchulu), Bengal tigers Thriller and Sabu (Shambala, California), Rikki the African parrot (with Freddie Hancock at the Voices of the Wild Foundation), pythons, giraffes, anacondas and two black caimans. The rest of the animals are currently at a wildlife reserve in Oklahoma, but will soon be moved to a location in Arizona.


Maybe one for a Marine Mysteries list, but in 2007 a deserted cargo ship was discovered off the coast of Qingzhou Island, China, after having lost engine power. On board were up to 5000 of some of the world’s rarest species of animals. Packed into cramped wooden crates were: 31 pangolins, 2720 monitor lizards, 44 leatherback turtles, 1130 Brazilian turtles, 21 bear paws wrapped in newspaper and a photo depicts what is suspected to be an Asian Giant turtle. The animals were transported to the nearby Guangdong Wild Animal Protection Centre.


This famous 7.7 sq. mi estate owned by drug lord, Pablo Escobar, is one of the largest privately owned menageries ever found. At the height of his success in the 1980s, Escobar imported rare and expensive animals from all over the world. The zoo included: giraffes, ostriches, elephants, ponies, rare antelopes, hippopotamuses, zebras, buffalos, camels, lions, an ocelot and several species of exotic birds. After his death in 1993, many of the animals became property of the Columbian government, except for two hippopotamuses which escaped and were later shot dead by authorities. Today, Hacienda Napoles is an official zoo and considered a major tourist attraction.

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10 Obscure And Completely Delusional Nazi Schemes

The Nazis were undoubtedly one of the most fanatical groups of people to have ever lived. So fanatical, in fact, that they murdered millions of people who couldn’t conform to their ideals. That fanaticism also spurred them to hatch plans so outrageous that we can only describe them as downright insane. This list reflects the grandiose and delusional way of thinking with which the Nazis used to pursue total domination, whether it be against their enemies or on their own people.

10 They Tried To Breed A Race Of Super-Cattle

1- auroch
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Nazis attempted to resurrect a long-extinct race of cattle called aurochs. Described in ancient times by Julius Caesar as just slightly smaller than an elephant and with a nasty temperament, aurochs roamed the European continent and were prized by hunters and warriors who killed them as a test of courage. Due to their near-legendary status, the aurochs fitted perfectly with the Nazi belief of a glorious Aryan civilization. Two zoologist brothers, Lutz and Heinz Heck, won active support from the Nazis to try to bring back the aurochs.

They employed several selective-breeding programs of different cattle until they could achieve a genetically perfect auroch. They ended up with a smaller and less muscular version of the auroch, which later came to be known as “Heck cattle.” Most of these cattle died during the Second World War—those that did survive were transported and kept in a Belgian preserve. Most recently, more than a dozen Heck cattle were taken from the preserve in 2009 and shipped to a farm in Devon, UK . . . not exactly the Nazi invasion of Britain Hitler wanted.

9 They Planned To Brainwash Germans With Nationwide Cable TV

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In a move that eerily resembles George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel 1984, the Nazis attempted their own brand of national mind control using television. More than anything, Adolf Hitler and Nazi propagandists saw how effective televised broadcasts were in controlling the masses. To that end they enlisted the help of Walter Bruch—an engineer who had earlier developed CCTVs to help the military safely monitor experimental rocket launches.

Bruch proposed setting up a broadband cable from Berlin to Nuremberg. Television screens would be installed across the country in various public spots and included a variety of Nazi propaganda that focused mainly on pro-Aryan programs. Ideas for the broadcasts included a reality show called Family Chronicles: An Evening With Hans and Gelli, which showed the ideal lifestyle of an Aryan family. Another, bloodier idea involved showing the films of traitors executed by the Nazis. Fortunately, Germany’s subsequent defeat prevented the Nazis from ever realizing their plan.

8 They Tried To Steal Christmas

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The Nazis took great pains to make everything conform to their misguided ideology, and Christmas was no exception. At first they tried to ban the celebration of Christmas, but failed to do so—it was simply too popular for the German people. Having failed to abolish it, the Nazis instead tried to corrupt Christmas in its entirety. They tried to convince the public that Christmas was a winter solstice festival.

Familiar figures such as Santa Claus became Odin, while Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were transformed into Aryan-like figures. Even the Christmas tree was not spared, as Nazi swastikas and runes replaced the traditional decorations. Christian hymns were omitted in favor of songs that feted the Aryan race. This delusional attempt to subvert Christmas reached its peak when the Nazis attempted to glorify Hitler as the Messiah. As the war turned against them, the Nazis turned Christmas into a public observance for their dead, which the German public again largely ignored (they were too busy trying to not get killed by then).

7 They Wanted To Send The Jews To Madagascar

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After their quick victory over France in 1940, the Nazis wanted to turn the French colony of Madagascar into a sort of Jewish settlement. They wanted to ship all the European Jews whom they felt stole the “lebensraum,” or the living space, of the German people. While exile sounded like a better option than wholesale slaughter, the Nazis would have total control over the island and completely cut off the Jews from the rest of the world. They also expected that the tropical diseases and internal squabbles would eventually lead to the Jews killing themselves—problem solved.

However, the plan required the Germans to decisively defeat and acquire the British Royal Navy’s ships to transport the Jews. When that didn’t materialize, they considered exiling the Jews to either Siberia or the Arctic, especially after they started invading the Soviet Union. As the war dragged on longer than expected, the Nazi leadership couldn’t wait any longer to get rid of the Jews and so instead opted to just exterminate them all.

6 They Had A Program For The Ideal Aryan Woman

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During their rule, the Nazis left no stone unturned when it came to ensuring that their lifestyle and heredity remained “racially pure.” In cooperation with the SS, Gertrud Scholtz-Klink—the top-ranked woman in the Third Reich—organized bride schools that taught German women how to be the perfect Aryan wife and mother to her family. The schools were racially exclusive—non-German women were barred from attending. The program ran for a month and two weeks, and typically included domestic classes such as cooking and cleaning the house.

At the end, those who passed were given a certificate signifying that they were fit to become wives and mothers. Heinrich Himmler—head of the SS and ardent supporter of the program—stated that it was a national obligation for a German woman to produce racially perfect offspring. This idea became less prevalent in the later stages of the war when more German women were enlisted for industrial work to help supplement the growing shortage of able-bodied men.

5 Their Angora Project Treated Rabbits Better Than Humans

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However horrible the Nazis treated their fellow human beings was exactly inversely proportional to the way they treated animals. This baffling paradox was especially evident in several concentration camps where the Nazis forced the prisoners to take care of giant Angora rabbits. Known as the Angora Project, the SS, under the direction of Heinrich Himmler, employed thousands of prisoners to grow these rabbits for their fur, which they used to line military clothing. A number of officers also kept them as pets.

What made this especially cruel was the fact that the Nazis treated the rabbits infinitely better than the prisoners. While millions of prisoners starved or died inside the camps, the rabbits enjoyed their own spacious pens, complete with nutritious meals every day. One camp commandant stated in his confession “the best-fed creatures of Mauthausen [concentration camp] were the Angora rabbits that the SS used for pets.”

4 They Fed Their Soldiers Candy-Coated Drugs

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One of the lesser-known reasons why Germany’s “blitzkrieg,” or lightning war, was so successful early on in the war was due in large part to the Nazis turning their own soldiers into drug addicts. After having studied the effects of Pervitin (German meth) on university students, the Nazi leadership decided to distribute the drug to all branches of the armed forces. The drug enabled the soldier to perform for longer periods without rest and take more risks; later on the drug became coated with either candy or chocolate to make them more edible. However, as one might guess, soldiers who became addicted to Pervitin became heavy drinkers and took opiates to counter the effects of meth.

By 1944, the Nazis experimented with an even more powerful drug to help them counter the Allied invasion. They mixed Pervitin, cocaine, and morphine to create D-IX which they first tested out on prisoners. They were convinced of the drug’s effectiveness after the prisoners displayed superhuman amounts of strength and endurance and would have started mass production were it not for the Allies’ rapid advance into Germany. On the other side of the world, the Japanese also gave out its own version of meth called Hiropon to their soldiers. The drug contributed heavily to the Japanese attitude of never surrendering, and especially in the willingness of kamikaze pilots to follow through with their suicide missions.

3 They Actually Employed Occultists

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While it is general knowledge that some high-ranking Nazis engaged in the occult, more obscure is the fact that they actually believed enough in the power of occultists to have employed them for military purposes, with three of the most well-known examples being Wilhelm Wulff, Ludwig Straniiak, and Wilhelm Gutberlet. Wulff—an astrologer—was tasked by the Nazis to find Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (who was captured and kept in captivity), which he did correctly using his “psychic gifts.” Straniak—an architect by profession—used his “dowsing” abilities to precisely guess the location of the German battleship, the Prince Eugen, which was on a secret mission near Norwegian waters.

Perhaps the most dangerous of the three was Gutberlet, a physician. As one of Hitler’s earliest and closest followers, he allegedly possessed the power to sense the presence of Jews even if they were in a large crowd. Hitler sought him out for his power and even turned him into something of a race consultant.

2 They Almost Completed the World’s Largest Hotel Resort

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Not all Nazi propaganda focused on fear and deception—they figured that they could control the masses better if they provided them with a wide range of benefits. Under its “Strength Through Joy” program, the Nazi government attempted to build one of the largest hotel resorts in the world. Situated on an island off the coast of Germany’s Baltic Sea, Hotel Prora had a length of 4.5 kilometers (2.8 mi) and was designed to accommodate 20,000 people. The hotel came complete with luxurious amenities such as restaurants, cinemas, and even a railway station. The Nazis especially hoped that the hotel would ease the tensions between the German working class and their employers and enable them to work better together.

Unfortunately, the hotel was never finished, as workers involved in the construction were transferred to weapons-manufacturing plants after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Later on the Soviets discovered the hotel and tried to destroy it, but with little success. In 2011, the hotel was re-opened as a youth hostel and has since attracted the attention of tourists and history buffs due to its ignominious connection to the Nazis.

1 They Had Plans For A Fourth Reich

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After Germany’s defeat in the battle for Stalingrad in 1943, it became clear to some top-ranked Nazi economists and industrialists that the war would be lost. It was about that time that they began to make contingency plans for a post-war Fourth Reich. In a document titled the Red House Report, key industrialists met in Strasbourg and agreed that this new regime would focus on financial rather than military operations, and would fund the underground Nazi Party until such time that they could again resurface and take over the country.

The industrialists—with the aid of the Nazi government—managed to smuggle huge amounts of Germany’s assets into friendly or neutral countries like many in South America. After the war, most of the Nazi leadership was sentenced to death or duly punished while the industrialists got away with a mere slap in the wrist. Nowadays, conspiracy theorists have argued that the Fourth Reich is alive and well in the form of the Germany-led European Union. Who knows, maybe they’re right.

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10 Freak Accidents People Somehow Survived

Ever had one of those days when you just can’t seem to catch a break? Of course; we all have. You hit every red light, hurt yourself in comically unlikely ways, and at the end of the day, you’re grateful to crawl into bed without having broken anything. The flip side are those days when nothing can go wrong, and we’ve all had those, too; maybe you ace a test you didn’t study for, luck your way into a promotion at work, or get away with running the only red light you’ve seen all day.

These are stories of people who had the mother of the first type of day, and the grandmother of the second . . . on the same day. People who found themselves struck by the worst luck imaginable—only to turn it completely around, immediately, with the biggest breaks of their lives. Lives that may have been a lot shorter had they not.

10Heart Like A Wheel


In 2014, an unnamed Italian man in his late forties displayed some unusual symptoms in the hospital after a motorcycle accident. Specifically, doctors were having trouble getting a good heartbeat. The patient’s heart didn’t appear to be in the right place.

The condition is called dextrocardia, an abnormal location of the heart, and is usually the result of a birth defect. Of course, in this case, the patient’s heart had been on the correct side prior to the accident; the heart’s segue to the right inside his chest cavity—along with the pulmonary artery, aorta, and other blood-pumping essentials—resulted not from the impact but from air leaking out of the man’s ruptured lungs. Once the air was drained, the muscle and its associated plumbing shifted obediently back into place. The patient’s blood pressure—which had dropped dangerously low—returned to normal.

Incredibly, the patient never lost consciousness after the accident. He may be the only man who can tell us what it feels like when your ticker decides to just up and relocate. The patient made a full recovery, and we hope his heart enjoyed its brief time on the other side of the sternum.

9The Convertible Van


Motorist James Crawford’s 2012 incident falls squarely into the “funny only because nobody was seriously hurt” category. En route to work on the New Jersey Turnpike early one morning, James encountered an interloper on the highway—a gigantic, floating steel beam, being lifted by a nearby construction crane, which the crane operator had somehow allowed to drift into traffic. Before James even knew what was happening, there was a little extra ventilation in the car—that is, the beam ripped the entire top of the van off like a peel-back lid. In James’s words, “Everything was sawed off, but I was still there.”

Although he did suffer a few cuts to his face and a broken thumb, James was none the worse for wear. Stunned tow truck drivers, who arrived on the scene to find James sitting nonchalantly on the guardrail, can attest to that. Said one, “I can’t believe he walked away . . . the entire passenger side and the roof were peeled off the van completely. It looks like a convertible.”

The episode appears to have simply been a freak accident, in which stiff winds may have played a part. After investigations by state police and the construction company, no charges appear to have been filed in connection with the incident. James was out of the hospital by lunchtime the same day—and back at work the following week.

8The Man With Half A Head

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You’ve read the title of the entry. You see the picture. So let’s just get this out of the way—no, it’s not a Photoshop. A police report about the incident involving this man quite literally describes him with the exact words, “half a head.”

His name is Carlos Rodriguez, but for some strange reason, his friends and acquaintances call him “Halfy.” Halfy blames his . . . unique appearance on a car accident caused by drinking and drugs, in which he hit a pole, was ejected through his windshield, and you can probably guess the rest. It’s obvious that the other half of Halfy’s head ended up all over the road; what’s not so obvious is how the hell he’s still here to tell us about it.

Carlos says he had the accident at 14, but he and his unusual head only recently went viral. His mugshot was distributed online after an arrest for soliciting prostitution. In a video interview, Carlos had this advice for any reckless youth who may be watching: “And this is how the old boy has come out. That is why it is not good, drinking and driving or drugness (sic) and driving. It is no good kids.”

7The Killer Pigeon


One sunny day in 2010, Matthew Brealy was out riding his motorcycle with a friend near his Chesterfield home. Suddenly, while traveling at about 80 kilometers (50 mi) per hour, Matthew found his view obstructed by a low-flying pigeon that had smashed right through his visor. Unfortunately, his day was about to get even worse.

The impact of the instantly dead bird knocked Matthew immediately unconscious, even shattering a lens of his glasses. He slumped forward on his motorcycle, inadvertently hitting the throttle. With Matthew blissfully unaware, snoozing in his seat, the bike ramped its speed up to about 225 kilometers (140 mi) per hour before caroming off of an oak tree (at an angle, thankfully) and ejecting Matthew onto the road.

Matthew sustained multiple rather serious injuries, including a broken leg—which required insertion of a titanium pin to correct—and not one but two skull fractures. Nevertheless, he made a full recovery with the help of his wife, who was pregnant at the time of the accident. A year and a half afterward, Matthew described himself as “99 percent back to normal.”

6The Toilet Bomb

Michel Pierre of New York City received a big surprise one day while checking the water pressure in his apartment. The water in the building had been turned off for maintenance, and Michel was curious about how his toilet would flush after it had been turned back on—but something went slightly wrong. In the astute words of Mr. Pierre’s lawyer, “Obviously there is a serious problem in the building. Clearly toilets are supposed to flush, not explode.”

Now, this was not your run-of-the-mill cherry bomb–induced toilet explosion; it was more like a toilet bomb, literally blasting the toilet into tiny shards of porcelain shrapnel, which Michel was pelted with. His wounds required 30 stitches to close, and the poor guy now stands behind a door and uses a rope to flush. He’s unable to even look at his john; “I can’t stop thinking about it every time I look at the bowl,” he says.

Okay, laugh it up, but let’s see how you feel when your trusted toilet decides it would rather be a landmine right after you’ve done your business. Amazingly, Michel’s was one of a total of four toilets that went “Kaboom” shortly after the water was turned back on in the building. He just appears to be the only one who was present for the event. Lucky guy.

5The Double Strike

In 2013, while attending a rodeo in Saint Jo, Texas, Casey Wagner had a bit of bad luck. Storm clouds were gathering over the proceedings, so Casey and a friend decided to take shelter under a tree, which you may recognize as being the exact thing one is not supposed to do in the event of a lightning storm. You can probably guess what happened next, but you would be only half right.

Casey says sparks began to fly off the trunk of the tree, and he knew he was about to be struck. “I saw a big old flash and then I knew I was going down,” he later told the press. And so he did—but he barely had time to register the shock (no pun intended) of the first strike before a second bolt struck his right foot, traveled all the way up his body, and came shooting out of his left arm.

Obviously, the odds of being struck by lightning twice consecutively are pretty astronomical; the odds of surviving such an occurrence, we could not even begin to calculate. Casey had no major injuries, just some soreness and a whole lot of numbness; either he’s the luckiest man in Texas, or—owing to his profession as a rodeo clown—perhaps he’s just really accustomed to physical abuse.

4Head Like A Hole

Now, a radioactive proton beam is one thing, but when a fishing spear charts a similar path through one’s skull, your luck quotient had better be ratcheted up significantly. Such was apparently the case with 16-year-old Yasser Lopez, a Miami youth who had a freak encounter with a gas-powered speargun while on a fishing trip with some friends. One moment, they were enjoying the sunny day; the next, Yasser was looking at 1 meter (3 ft) of fishing spear sticking out of his forehead. Yes, he remained conscious throughout the whole thing.

Yasser told the New York Daily News, simply, “I remember holding a fish my friend had caught, and then falling into the water. Then just seeing the spear in my head.” He was still awake even upon reaching the emergency room, to the amazement of the doctors; while the tip of the spear hadn’t exited, they could actually feel it pressing against the back of his skull, and they knew it had indeed gone all the way through.

Yasser initially had no memory of the incident but has regained some as he progressed in his physical therapy—a steel rod through the head tends to give one a little trouble with motor skills in the aftermath. Doctors do, however, expect him to recover completely, although Yasser isn’t so psyched about spearfishing without adult supervision anymore.

3The Man With Half A Body


Be warned: If the previous entry made you a little uncomfortable, it doesn’t get any better from here. Fortunately, the “really messed up” and “guys with awesome names” portions of the list coincide with each other, so there’s that.

In 2006, a Texan by the name of Truman Duncan (see?) was riding along on the front of a train car, when he . . . just slipped. He fell onto the track, started backpedaling as fast as he could—but could not outrun the wheels of the oncoming train, which grabbed him by the feet and started devouring his legs. The car came to a stop 23 meters (75 ft) later, with Truman’s entire lower half still mashed up in the wheels. One leg was still attached to his upper body by one lone muscle—but that was all.

Almost more amazing than the fact that he didn’t die instantly—he waited 45 minutes before paramedics arrived. Forty-five. Think about that the next time you’re growing impatient waiting for a bathroom stall to open up; we practically guarantee that your discomfort will lessen. Luckily, Truman is alive and well—with the help of extreme fortitude, the love of his family, and 23 surgeries in four months.

2Taking The Plunge

On her way to visit relatives in 2013, Annapolis college student Morgan Lake saw something in her rearview mirror while parked in traffic that would scare the life out of most of us. It was an 18-wheeler big rig, and it was not slowing down. Canadian Gabor Lovasz, on a solo haul through the US for the very first time, was in the middle of committing at least four major traffic infractions—or at least one too many to notice Morgan’s Chrysler Sebring and another vehicle dead in front of him. The ensuing impact would have been bad enough on its own, but Morgan was on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The big rig first slammed her car off of the concrete embankment before nudging it lovingly up onto it—and then over it.

Morgan’s car, with its windshield and driver’s window now shattered, plummeted about three stories into the bay. Since it was missing some windows, it began to sink fast, and Morgan began to panic even faster. But, as she was later able to tell the press, she simply “got [her]self together” and decided she wasn’t going to drown that day. She unbuckled her seat belt, got out through the decimated driver’s window, and—for what must have been the longest 20 or 30 seconds of her life—swam to the surface.

Morgan made it to some rocks surrounding one of the bridge’s supporting abutments. She stayed there until she was rescued by police a short time later. A trip to the hospital revealed only bruises, no broken bones or even cuts. Lovasz was charged with the aforementioned four major traffic infractions, to which he pled guilty. While a Transportation Authority spokesperson described the Sebring’s bridge dive as “very uncommon,” the last such incident was in 2008—also involving an 18-wheeler and two cars, and in which the driver who went over the bridge was killed.

1He’s A Lumberjack, And He’s (Somehow) Okay


Finally, we have the incredible story of 74-year-old chainsaw enthusiast Forthman Murff. We’d like to remind you that we’re not making any of this up. While out alone in the woods one day, cutting down trees (an activity we don’t recommend), Forthman was beset by the freakiest of freak accidents. A tree he had just felled pulled down a high-hanging branch with its downdraft; the branch struck Forthman, knocking him into a ditch. While this was happening, the falling tree knocked down another, different tree, which proceeded to fall on Forthman’s leg—breaking it, and pinning him where he was. And his bad luck was just warming up for the main feature.

Forthman was briefly knocked out; when he came to, he had discovered that he had fallen on his chainsaw—which was still running and busy cutting completely through his neck. Ticked off by this development, Forthman says, “It made me mad, and I just threw that saw off . . . [the blood] wasn’t coming in spurts, so I thought I might have a chance.” Forthman staggered to his truck with a death grip on his massive wound, stopping periodically to let blood drain so that he wouldn’t drown in it. With his esophagus, windpipe—well, everything but his arteries and spine—completely severed, Forthman drove his truck a half mile to a neighbor’s house. He was driven to a hospital 27 kilometers (17 mi) away, and finally received treatment about an hour after nearly cutting off his own head.

Forthman had some trouble with infections (caused by sawdust in his wound) and could only breathe and speak with the help of a tracheotomy, but he eventually recovered. Ten years after the accident, Forthman told a reporter that the three big loves of his life were music, Jesus, and chainsaws—since this man was absolutely incapable of holding a grudge.

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10 Things That Shouldn’t Have Their Own Museum But Do

There are plenty of things we expect to see in museums. Dinosaur bones, fine art, historical documents—these are all fine things to put on display for people to enjoy. Then there are other things, things that you might more commonly find in your refrigerator, in the bottom of your junk drawer, or in the garbage. Sometimes, all it takes is a special sort of person to think outside the box and realize that what this world is missing is a museum related to, for example, all things urine.


1- toaster
If you thought that toasters were just background kitchen appliances used to toast bread and bagels, then you’re missing out on the interesting history and variety that toasters can offer. The Toaster Museum Foundation is a small, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of toaster history. Sadly, their physical museum has been closed, but there’s still the possibility of it reopening. This labor of love started with the conception of a unique cafe idea that put toasters on all the tables and let customers make their toast exactly the way they wanted it. The founding members think of their museum as not just a place for people to see different kinds of toasters, but as a study of design and art in the decades that span their collection. is another online library dedicated to the preservation of the memory of these long-lived toasting devices. Here, visitors can see more than 600 different toasters while exploring the in-depth history of toasting and the fundamentals of toaster construction. There’s also a pretty interesting section on the prices of some toasters. How many thousands of dollars would you spend on a toaster?


Not rabbits, mind you, but bunnies. Bunnies are cute and all, but one married couple has taken it to an extreme, boasting more than 28,000 bunny-related items all packed into their California house. There’s bunny kitchenware, stuffed bunnies, bunny statues, bunny collectibles . . . pretty much all the bunny you could ever want to see in one place, including a couple live pet bunnies of their own. Their web site instructs visitors to please refrain from bringing any live rabbits or any carrots, but alcohol is a perfectly acceptable gift.

They boast that thousands of people have visited the museum, and they’re always open. It’s always by appointment, of course, because it’s also their home. Or, as they call it, a living museum. But the most epic part of this museum isn’t the thousands and thousands of little bunny eyes that are staring at anyone who walks in, it’s the series of commercials that were made to promote the museum—and they star one Elijah Wood. Yep, Frodo is the spokesman for the Bunny Museum.


2- hair

There’s not much that’s more disgusting than a big, hairy drain clog, but if you’re that interested in hair, you can visit a museum dedicated to it. You can visit a couple of museums, actually. If you’re headed to Turkey, visit the Chez Galip Pottery studio, where the master potter has been collecting and saving pieces of his female visitors’ hair for decades. He’s collected more than 16,000 samples. It didn’t start out as a museum, though, and there are two stories behind how it all started. According to one, a friend who was leaving the area left a piece of her hair for the master potter to remember her by, and others started adding to the collection when they found out about it. The other story says that it’s something of a publicity stunt for the museum, as every year the studio gives away vacations to those who have donated a lock of hair.

There’s also Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri. This museum boasts thousands of pieces of jewelry and artwork made from human hair—including the hair of people like Queen Victoria and Michael Jackson. There are hair wreaths (which is just as weird as it sounds) and paintings where the paint was made from crushed human hair. And if historical hair is more your thing, there’s also the Japanese Coiffure Museum, which boasts miniature replicas of Japanese hairstyles dating back to ancient times.


3- ramen

In the United States, Ramen is little more than a college student’s dinner-on-a-budget. In Japan, however, they take their Ramen very seriously—so seriously that you can visit not just one, but two Ramen museums. At the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, you can learn about the history of Ramen (chicken was the first), create your own flavor by mixing noodles and broth, and even cook some real Ramen noodles, starting with their basic ingredients.

Not to be outdone, the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum isn’t only a museum to the tasty noodles, it’s also got a shop, an old-school style cafe, a sweet shop, and slot-car racing. They boast that it’s the only place where you can try every type of Ramen in the world without getting on a plane, and the different restaurants in the museum serve different kinds of Ramen noodles with different toppings; apparently, some types of Ramen can have up to 45 different ingredients. We had no idea it was all so complicated. And surprisingly, Ramen didn’t even spread to Japan until 1859, when Chinese restaurants started popping up all over the country.

6Dog Collars

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At first glance, the idea of a dog collar museum seems a little silly, but it’s really pretty fascinating for those of us who are obsessed with our four-legged friends. Located on the grounds of Leeds Castle, the name of Dog Collar Museum is misleadingly simplistic. Some pieces date back well into the Middle Ages, when collars were mostly a very utilitarian design that protected the necks of dogs that were tasked with hunting prey and protecting livestock from predators. Later examples are as much a fashion statement as any human clothing piece from the era. Collars from the 18th century were as decorative as their owner’s clothes would have been, with many containing silver or velvet and etched with the dog’s name and their owner’s information. Some dog collars were even decorated with their family’s coat of arms.

People have long been extremely devoted to their canine friends, and it’s a fascinating look at just how serious we are about our dogs. And apparently, we’re still pretty serious about them; the museum gets about half a million visitors each year. The museum itself was originally started by a scholar in medieval history and was presented to Leeds Castle after his death.


5- tampons
This is an online museum that’s strangely entertaining—especially some of the hate-mail comments that they’re proud to post. If you’re squeamish, you might not want to check out the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health, but those who do take a gander will be pleasantly surprised at the wealth of information. It’s not just a look at the science behind the monthly cycle, it’s also an interesting look at the social and cultural ramifications of being a woman. The museum has old engravings showing costumes worn by girls who started their first menstruation, and there are photos of huts that women were exiled to during a handful of days every month.

The museum also provides interesting legends about menstruation: In ancient Greece, it was thought that dogs would go mad if they were around a menstruating woman, while Orthodox Jews had a tradition of ritual bathing and—unofficially—of mothers slapping their daughters during their first period. There are also a ton of vintage ads from all over the world.


6- urology
The William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History is a must-see for anyone interested in urology, urine, bladder stones, and catheters. Established in 1971 and operated in conjunction with the American Urological Association in Maryland, the museum has everything you could ever want to see in order to learn more about urology. Their ongoing (and ever-growing) collections include medical textbooks and illustrations both modern and historical, along with medical tools like laparoscopes (used to perform minor surgeries) and catheters.

As it turns out, catheters are more interesting than you might think. Early ones were made from materials like wood and precious metals, while people in the 19th century used to carry their catheters with them concealed in various wardrobe accessories. There are special exhibits that rotate on a yearly basis, and the museum also has sections on urology-related specialties like infertility and incontinence treatments. They’re always looking for volunteers and contributions.


7- mustard
Because there’s too much mustard in the world for just one mustard museum, we’ve been given a couple. The Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum is in Norfolk, England and pays homage to arguably the most important mustard out there. Colman’s has been around for almost 200 years, and their museum is a tribute to decades of mustard history, with tins and mustard pots whose styles change as much as the art of the decades. You can also learn all about how mustard is made and how the company grew into the mustard empire it is today.

On the opposite side of the Atlantic is another, even more bizarre mustard museum. The National Mustard Museum was established in 1992 by an ex–Assistant Attorney General who left his job to open a mustard museum after browsing the mustard aisle in the grocery store during a late-night shopping trip. He has more than 5,600 different types of mustard on display. He says that he knew he was destined to open a museum with the world’s largest collection of mustard when he appeared before the US Supreme Court to argue a case and won it with a jar of mustard in his pocket. Now, his museum hosts the National Mustard Day celebrations every year.


8- pencils

The Cumberland Pencil Museum says that they’re the home of the world’s first pencil, but that still didn’t keep them off The Telegraph‘s list of the worst ways to spend a day in Britain. If you want to know how pencils are made, from the discovery of graphite deposits in Borrowdale to the invention of the machine that makes those wooden grooves in pencils, all the way up to the groundbreaking development of colored pencils, this is the place for you. It’s an apparently complicated process that involved a lot of woodworking, scraping of graphite, gluing, sanding, finishing, lettering, and boxing.

It’s a lot to take in, but they put their timeline in perspective amid other events which you might be more familiar with, like the start of World War I and the ascension of Queen Victoria. Enter a competition to design a fairground (drawings in graphite only, please), follow along the arts and crafts activity trail, and certainly don’t forget to check out the World War II Secret Pencil exhibition. They also offer family fun days, group art demonstrations, drawing competitions, and a coffee shop.


9- leftovers
Most people just throw away the little bits that are left on the plate after dinner. At best, we save them for the next day. But at the Museum of Celebrity Leftovers, leftovers aren’t just garbage—they’re a reminder of the famous lips that once touched the silverware of this seaside cafe. The museum is perhaps more aptly called a display stand, and it holds several rows of mineral specimen jars. Each jar holds some leftovers and is carefully labeled with the name of the celebrity who stopped by for a bite. You can see a bit of leftover fruit cake from Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, a bit of Cornetto wrapping from actor Eddie Marsan’s snack, and a sugar packet that actor Mark McGann used in his coffee. The display with the crown? That’s a piece of leftover bread pudding from the Prince of Wales.

The whole thing started when the owners of The Old Boatstore Cafe, Michael and Francesca Bennett, were visited by photographer David Bailey and wanted to memorialize the event somehow. Sadly, this is one museum that’s no longer around, but not because it wasn’t popular. The owners of the cafe and the museum decided to change the focus of their jobs from the cafe to their art.

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10 Incredible True Stories About Twins

Nobody will deny that twins are cool—except perhaps a fed-up twin. They’re adorable in their little matching outfits; and isn’t it funny watching them desperately search for ways to distinguish their own identity from that of their sibling? There are a lot of stories about twins that will amaze you, and we’ve selected ten of the most interesting for the list below:


Twenty-two-year-old Edith Casas fell in love, and wanted to marry the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the rest of her family, the man was a nightmare. Edith wanted to wed a man who was serving thirteen years in prison for the murder of her twin sister Johana, two years earlier. Victor, the alleged killer, had also had a sexual relationship with Johana, who was a model (pretty clear who got dumped in that relationship).

Victor was adamant that his relationship with Johana was “casual”, and that he really loved Edith. But her parents understandably intervened, and the courts postponed the wedding so that Edith could undergo mental evaluation, to clarify whether or not she was fit to make such a decision. She ended up marrying Victor on February 14, 2013, while he was still incarcerated for the murder of her twin.

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In 2009, a talented jewel thief made off with $6.8 million worth of jewelry, stolen from a luxury department store in Germany. Either Hassan O. or Abbas O. (no last names were given, as per German law) was the culprit, according to the DNA scan—but both men were released after the courts could not find out which one of the twins actually committed the crime. Similar results relating to rape have sometimes occurred, and one person even managed to escape a death sentence in Malaysia because of the safeguard offered by his twin.


Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were separated at birth, when they were put up for adoption in 1940. They met for the first time when they were thirty-nine. It turns out that the name Jim was actually given to each of them independently, by their respective adoptive parents—and that’s only the beginning of the uncanny parallel.

Both men had married twice—first to women named Linda, and then to women named Betty. Both had childhood dogs named Toy. Their sons’ names were James Allen and James Alan. Both worked as sheriff’s deputies, drank the same beer, smoked the same cigarettes, and drove the same chevrolet. This story, unsurprisingly, is often used as evidence for telepathy.

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In 2004, Holly Marie Adams gave birth to a lovely, healthy baby girl. The birth certificate for the child lists Raymon Miller as the father, but he’s not content with this. DNA testing has been unable to prove that he—as opposed to his twin, Richard—is the real father.

This isn’t very much like the case of the jewel theft, which we’ve already covered. In that story, only one twin had done the deed—but in this one, Holly had in fact slept with both Richard and Raymon on the same day, without either of the twins knowing that she was sleeping with them both (there’s a word for someone like that, but I can’t quite think of it right now). Their DNA is more than ninety-nine percent identical, so there’s no way to prove which man is the father and which man is the uncle.

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Ryan—born on July 11, 2005—has light skin and blue eyes, whereas his twin brother Leo has dark skin and brown eyes. The father of the two boys is a caucasian German man, while their mother is a dark-skinned woman from Ghana. This has actually happened multiple times: in 2005, twin girls of different races were born to an interracial couple. And in 2006, a mixed-race woman named Kerry Richardson gave birth to light-skinned twins—one of whom grew darker as she aged, and the other of whom grew lighter.

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Ashlee Spinks and Andrea Springer are twin sisters. When they were twenty-one-years-old, they discovered that they were not only both pregnant at the same time, but had each been given the same due date, and were both expecting a set of twin boys (somehow this was only discovered when the women were already six months pregnant). The twins’ twins did end up being delivered on the same day—but on December 14, not January 1 as had been predicted. The women swear that they did not use fertility drugs, and that twins simply run in their family.


Diane and Darlene Nettemeier are twin sisters who took the cute matching-twins thing to the extreme. They married identical twins Craig and Mark Sanders, who proposed on the same day with rings of the same style; they wore the same dress at their double wedding; they bought houses next-door to one another; and they ended up giving birth on the same day.

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This is another “separated at birth, found each other in later life” story—but with a much less happy ending. The twins in this story, who can’t be named, were separated at birth and raised by different families. They met each other in later life, and felt an “inevitable attraction” to one another. They started a romantic relationship together, which eventually led to them getting married. Soon after their wedding, it came to light that they were in fact brother and sister, at which point the courts ruled their marriage invalid.

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Hannah Kersey of Northam, England, was born with uterus didelphys, a malformation of the reproductive organs that resulted in her having two wombs. While this is known to affect one in three thousand women, the odds of giving birth to three healthy girls from two separate wombs are twenty-five million to one. But in December 2006, Hannah did exactly that.

Identical twins Ruby and Tilly were delivered from one womb, while their fraternal twin-sister Grace was delivered from the other. While simultaneous gestation of the two wombs in women with uterus didelphys can happen (at least seventy cases have been recorded so far), Kersey’s triplet birth was a medical first.

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In 2002, a pair of seventy-three-year-old twins were killed on a road in Finland. There’s nothing unusual at all about that at a first glance, until you find out that they were killed separately, within two hours of each other. The first of the twins was hit by a lorry and killed while he was cycling along the road. Two hours later, his brother died in exactly same way. To make matters even more odd, police had not yet informed the second twin of his brother’s death (which means that he wasn’t merely trying to follow him to the grave).

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10 Museums Dedicated Solely to Mythical Creatures

During a trip to your regular, run-of-the-mill museum, you probably don’t expect to bump into vampires. Nor do you prepare yourself for coming face-to-kneecap with Bigfoot—unless, that is you happen to frequent the following museums. All ten of them are dedicated to some of mankind’s most enduring mythical creatures.


The vertically challenged, gold-hoarding heroes of Irish mythology are known far and wide as a mischief-making symbol of Ireland. Leprechauns pop up in films, books, and St Patrick’s Day Parades all over the world—and so it’s only natural that the Irish would choose to honor this celebrated creature.

The National Leprechaun Museum opened its doors in 2010, and is described as a “story-telling” tourist attraction that plays the leprechaun tale pretty straight while also making good use of a multitude of Irish myths and legends. The basics of leprechaun folklore are explained, with a few optical illusions thrown in now and then. One room features oversized furniture, helping you imagine what it’s like to be little. The museum also entertains us with the stories of several naive people who tried to find leprechaun gold.

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Nessie, as she is affectionately known, has been hanging around the Scottish Highlands for quite some time now. Sightings of the apparently camera-shy monster go back as far as the sixth century A.D., when St Columba supposedly calmed the “water beast” with the awesome power of prayer.

But it wasn’t until the twentieth century that the legend of the monster really took hold. That was when George Spicer and his wife spotted, near Loch Ness, the nearest thing to a “dragon or prehistoric animal” they had ever seen. From that point on, letters of possible monster sightings in the area flooded the local and national press, who predictably needed a name for the monster. After applying their collective powers of thought for what must have been quite some time, they came up with the name, “Loch Ness Monster.”

The first photo of the creature appeared on December 6, 1933, around the same time the Secretary of State of Scotland ordered the police not to attack the creature.  Thus the legend took hold, and a cottage industry was born.

An award-winning museum dedicated to Scotland’s greatest champion of hide-and-seek, the Lock Ness Centre is a one-stop shop for all things Nessie. Opened over thirty years ago, the exhibition gives a great history of the various hoaxes and sightings relating to the local legend. And if you do want to keep an eye on the murky waters of Loch Ness, you could always check out the museum’s Nessie-cam.

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During the mid to late nineteen sixties, a strange creature was rumored to be hanging around Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Many people reported sightings of something that resembled a man with wings, and John Keel’s 1975 book “The Mothman Prophecies” helped to further the legend of this winged beast. The Richard Gere movie of the same name didn’t hurt, either.

In the decades that have passed since the first sightings of the Mothman, he has reached such popularity as to be given his own festival, as well as a twelve-foot-tall statue in Point Pleasant. And across the road from the statue is the Mothman Museum.

The museum features plenty of props from the movie, handwritten accounts of sightings of the monster, as well as documentaries about him. There are also occasional tours, which take eager visitors to many of the areas where the creature has been sighted.


From Tinker Bell to the Sugar Plum, fairies have been at the forefront of human imagination for centuries. Sometimes playful, sometimes spiteful and generally about as small as Tom Thumb, their depiction has differed from tale to tale and culture to country. What has never dimmed, however, is our fascination with these pretty little pixies.

With such a rich and varied history, it should come as no surprise that someone got the bright idea of putting practically all there is to see and know about fairies under one roof. The Fairy Museum contains artifacts and relics supposedly used by fairies, gnomes, and pixies—and it features plenty of fairy-related goodness in its gift shop, where you can buy magnetic fairy bottle necklaces, dusting wands, and dust bottles with fairy bells. You don’t even have to live locally to explore the wonders of the fairy realm, either; every so often the museum goes on tour.

Zombie Drag

If one mythical creature rules the contemporary castle, it is definitely the zombie. Sure—vampires are big business, and people always love a good werewolf story now and then—but it seems that you just can’t turn around without seeing a zombie movie, zombie TV show, zombie computer game, or even a zombie adaptation of a famous book (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is a good example of this). So if there was ever a creepy creature destined to be eulogized in its own museum, it’s the brain-loving zombie.

The Monroeville Mall, in Pennsylvania, is the location of George A. Romero’s seminal zombie film, “Dawn of the Dead”. It is also home to Monroeville Zombies. The museum takes visitors on a whistle-stop history of the zombie in popular culture. There are props, memorabilia, life-sized zombie replicas—and, of course, a zombie gift shop.


It’s all well and good having museums dedicated to mythical monsters of one type or another—but what if you want a one-stop mythical-monster-shop?

Presumably, that was the idea behind the Mythical Monster Museum in Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, Texas. The property features dozens of different monster exhibits, including zombies, goblins, vampire, and werewolves. If guests struggle to handle all the creepy shenanigans on show, then expert monster hunters Sir Daniel Raptus and Miles Krane will be close by, ready and willing to slay whatever fictional creature has imagined its way inside visitors’ minds.

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Portland’s International Cryptozoology Museum is dedicated to the cataloguing of the world’s most elusive creatures. Under its roof you’ll find a life-sized Bigfoot, a giant squid, an assortment of photographs and footprints, as well as some interesting pop cultural memorabilia. Founder and occasional TV personality Loren Coleman is generally on hand to answer the questions of any aspiring cryptozoologists.

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Perhaps no miscreant has dominated the history of myths, legends, and monster movies more than the vampire. And this limitless world of TV, films, books, poetry, and art has almost entirely been inspired by the work of one indefatigable Irishman: Bram Stoker, who created the legendary Dracula.

Le Musee des Vampires (the Vampire Museum) in Paris is a small private museum that celebrates all things relating to vampires. The collection is housed in a private residence, and viewings are by appointment only—but that shouldn’t discourage guests. The property is a veritable coffin, full to the brim of vampire paraphernalia. There are numerous paintings, plenty of books—and even a mummified cat.

If guests are feeling a little peckish, they can also book a dinner table at the museum—a package which includes a guided tour, group games (which we can only imagine are strictly vampiric), as well as some grub.

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It isn’t all that surprising that witches should be honored in some fashion. Ever since witches first entered the popular culture, people have dressed up in flowing robes in order to quote spells, worship trees, and generally dabble in the dark arts.

The Cornish Museum of Witchcraft draws on local history in an area not devoid of a charm or two. The South England town of Cornwall reached its magical peak in the nineteenth century, when people would often make journeys of considerable length and difficulty to visit the region’s famous white witches.

Today, the museum houses the largest collection of witchcraft artifacts in the world (at least according to their website). It opened its doors in 1951, and has been in its current location in Boscastle, Cornwall, since 1960.

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Ghosts have been scaring the living daylights out of people for centuries now. And while most of us have a good ghost tale to tell, few of us are brave enough to believe our often unreliable eyes.

The Museum of Ghosts and Fairytales—located in an area famous for its inexplicable goings-on—is dedicated to such mythical creatures as water sprites, witches, dragons, and the Saracen devil. The museum is housed in the basement of what used to be a sixteenth century pub—giving it a rather creepy atmosphere indeed.

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10 Notably Weird Deaths of the 20th Century

We at Listverse have a bit of a morbid bent, and as such, we enjoy talking about weird ways for people to die. Like, a lot. If karma exists, we sort of expect to die in the most public and hilarious way possible—say, falling all the way down a three-story crystal spiral staircase lined with squeaky horns and confetti cannons at its grand unveiling, after slipping on a comically oversized banana peel at the top, while a polka band plays in the background—and that will be fine. We’re good sports.

Since we headed down that road long ago, there’s no reason not to present this list of notable 20th Century figures who died in notably weird ways. Enjoy, and we’ll see you at the unveiling!


Ray Chapman was a standout shortstop for the Cleveland Indians, who—on August 16, 1920—became the only professional baseball player to be killed by a pitch. It was a “spitball”—a ball that had been dirtied, scuffed up or otherwise altered—and it was speculated that Chapman never saw the ball coming.

Yankees pitcher Carl Mays threw the high, inside ball that connected with Chapman’s left temple, breaking it with an audible sound that Mays took at first (understandably) to be the crack of the bat. Chapman collapsed, briefly regained his feet, and collapsed again on the way to the dugout, never regaining consciousness.

Mays was cleared of any wrongdoing, but the spitball was made illegal—except for established pitchers who had been using it their whole careers, who were given a grandfather clause, which seems like it kind of defeats the whole purpose of the rule, but we’re no sports experts. Oddly, batting helmets weren’t made a requirement until 1971.


Marcus Garvey was one of the first Black activists. Born in 1887, he developed a Pan-African philosophy that would come to be known as “Garveyism“; famous for espousing repatriation of blacks to Africa, that was only a small part of his doctrine. He was a successful businessman and master orator, founder of many formative Black political and activist parties, and a strong influence on the Nation of Islam.

Garvey’s death was not only strange but ironic—he suffered a double stroke after reading a premature obituary for himself. To add insult to injury (or, you know, death), it was not a kind obituary, stating that Garvey died “broke, alone and unpopular”, and was dismissive of his politics and accomplishments; thus, while the news of his death may have been premature, it was not so for long.

Interestingly, Garvey is considered a prophet of the Rastafari religion. He was from Jamaica, and while he was raised a Methodist, his beliefs resonated deeply with the Jamaican movement—many even believe him to have been a reincarnation of Saint John the Baptist.


“Armchair Theatre” was a drama anthology series that ran on British television from 1956 to 1974. Early episodes were broadcast live, and it was during a November 1958 episode that some of the types of problems inherent to live broadcasts became apparent.

Actor Gareth Jones, who was only 33 years old at the time, was in makeup in between scenes when he suffered a massive heart attack. As the show continued on the stage, Jones collapsed and died—the only actor at the time to have expired during a live television transmission. The director and producer scrambled to improvise around his absence, and the play actually carried on to its conclusion as the dead actor was whisked off the set.

A couple of odd asides: Jones’ character was actually supposed to have a heart attack at a later point in the play; and the director, Ted Kotcheff, would go on to direct Hollywood films, including First Blood and… Weekend At Bernie’s, which is about a couple of dudes trying to cover up around their boss’ absence after he inconveniently dies. We doubt the irony was lost on Kotcheff.


There may not have been an F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway or William Faulkner if there hadn’t been Sherwood Anderson first. Throughout the teens, twenties and thirties, he wrote a series of novels and short stories that were a direct influence on the Great American Writers; his 1919 collection Winesburg, Ohio eschewed the literary devices of the day to paint the kind of bleak, unsentimental portraits of American life for which others would become more famous than he.

Indeed, Anderson’s death sounds a bit like the sort of hackneyed plot device he would have hated—while at a party, he popped his martini olive down the hatch. An olive that contained a sliver of a toothpick. No, he didn’t choke on it—it likely damaged his gastrointestinal tract, causing an infection, and he died a few days after the party of peritonitis.

Anderson has come to be known as a major American writer; dozens of works were published posthumously, and many are still in print. While contemporaries like Fitzgerald were known to be done in by an abundance of drinks, Anderson is the only of their ranks to be killed by just one martini.

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We don’t have to tell you what legendary master distiller Jack Daniel is known for; statistically speaking, at least one of you is probably smashed on what he is known for right now. We’ve talked ( before about some of the interesting details of his life, but the incident that brought about the end of that life was unfortunately pretty ridiculous.

Jack arrived early to work at his office one morning in 1906, before anyone else. This was unusual, and Jack was having a hell of a time remembering the combo to the company safe, as he was almost never the one to open it. Growing frustrated, he gave the safe a good hard kick—and probably busted something in his foot, as he immediately began limping, and the limp never went away.

The safe had its revenge over time. The limp grew worse, blood poisoning was suspected, the foot grew gangrenous, then had to be amputated. Daniel died of gangrene five years after the safe-kicking, which we suppose goes to show that if your whole life revolves around whiskey, trying to show up for work early is probably a bad idea. Right?


The Yardbirds were a kind of incubator for brilliant rock guitarists. Their second lead, Eric Clapton, split shortly after the group’s initial success to form the supergroup Cream; he was replaced by Jeff Beck, who was later joined by (and, even later, replaced by) Jimmy Page, who created his style of playing with a cello bow in the Yardbirds before taking it to Led Zeppelin and helping co-invent heavy metal.

The Yardbirds’ frontman and lead singer for their entire existence, however, was Keith Relf. Relf stayed with the group from its Clapton-led bluesy period through its heavier, distorted Beck/Page period; he disbanded it largely because he was tired of the new, heavier electric direction, and presumably of screaming to be heard over the instruments.

Ironically, late in his life he was involved in a heavy metal band called Armageddon, for whom he was recording vocals at the time he died—from being electrocuted while playing an improperly grounded electric guitar. Perhaps he should have stayed with the softer music, but we digress; Relf was posthumously inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992.

Smallpox Vaccine

Janet Parker is the only person on this list who is notable only for her cause of death, but what a cause it is: she is the last known casualty of smallpox, and she serves as a rather terrifying reminder of how even “eradicated” diseases continue to exist: in laboratories.

Parker was a University of Birmingham medical photographer, and she worked in the same building that housed the laboratory of Henry Bedson, a prominent smallpox researcher. To this day, all that is known is that Janet’s smallpox infection came from that lab—nobody knows how she was contaminated, or how the virus was able to escape the lab. Dr. Bedson, ironically, had recently come under criticism from the World Health Organization for his lab not being up to their safety standards—standards that he had defended in a sharply worded letter, just days before Janet Parker was infected.

She died in September 1978, ten months after the last natural case of the disease, and there have been no cases since. But samples still exist in various research labs around the world, and another breach could play out like this one thankfully didn’t, a fact of which Dr. Henry Bedson was all too aware—he didn’t even stick around to see how it would play out. Bedson committed suicide five days before Janet Parker’s death.


As you can see by the above picture of him chumming around with Albert Einstein, Kurt Godel was a very, very smart man. His Incompleteness Theorem changed the science community’s understanding of logic, he has a mathematical function (Godel numbering) named after him, and look—up there. With Einstein, palling around.

Very, very smart people are known to have quirks and eccentricities, in case you were unaware, and Godel was no exception. Later in his life he became exceedingly paranoid, and specifically became afraid that people were trying to poison him. As such, he refused to eat food prepared by anyone other than his wife—ever. With no exceptions. You may see where this is going.

When Godel’s wife became ill and was hospitalized for six months, he literally wasted away. He died on January 14, 1978, weighing all of 65 pounds; the death certificate listed the cause of death as, “malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance”, which is kind of a more formal way to say that he died of being a stubborn bastard.


Stefan Edberg was one of the dominant pro tennis players of the ’80s and ’90s, having won the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon (all twice), and was considered one of the great serve-and-volley players of his era. That is to say, he didn’t rely on a powerful serve, but on his quickness and athleticism in getting to the net afterwards—which makes the accident that befell line judge Dick Wertheim particularly odd.

Edberg was only 16 and participating in a Junior Boys’ Title Match at the U.S. Open; Wertheim was a linesman, and was observing the match seated in a folding chair courtside. The teen star unleashed a monster serve that went errant; incredibly, Wertheim had time to see it coming right at him and attempt to dodge, but that only meant that he was already off-balance when the ball nailed him dead in the groin. He crumpled, striking his head on the pavement, and was rushed to the hospital. Wertheim never regained consciousness, and died about a week later of the head injury.

Edberg was pretty seriously shaken up (though he did go on to win the match), and even considered quitting tennis. It was a bizarre fluke of a tragedy and an astonishing display of lethal power—had we been Edberg, we think we either would have hung it up or become a superhero.

Boris Sagal

Boris Sagal was a film director and the father of a family of acting siblings, the most famous of whom is probably daughter Katey, who—despite her recent work on “Sons Of Anarchy” and as Leela on “Futurama”—will always be Peg Bundy to us. Boris met his end in a way that few Hollywood types have—in fact, there are some eerie parallels with the only other case to come to mind.

While directing a TV movie in Oregon in 1981, Boris backed into the rotor of a helicopter and was decapitated by it. You may recognize this as being similar to the fate of Vic Morrow, on actor who died on the set of the Twilight Zone movie a year later due to decapitation by helicopter.

Boris Sagal had directed a couple episodes of the “Twilight Zone” TV series when he was getting started. Also, his first feature film job was “The Omega Man”, which was an adaptation of the novel “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, who was a writer on the Twilight Zone. Who, in fact, wrote most of the movie. Except the segment that was being filmed during the helicopter accident. What does all of this mean?

Simple: don’t stick your head into helicopters’ rotor blades. You will die.

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10 Craziest Things You Can Buy in China

If you want to step outside your comfort zone, go skydiving. If you want to forget you ever had a comfort zone, buy a ticket to China. If you already live in China, you’re two sentences ahead of me and just a few yuan away from owning some of the most bizarre items ever available on the legal free market. Here are ten of the craziest things you can buy in China. And if you know of anything that can top the items on this list, feel free to put it in the comments.


In 2010 the Twin Lakes Crab Co., a Chinese crab supplier, decided that sometimes a grocery store just isn’t convenient enough. So they built a vending machine that dispenses live crabs to be installed in subway stations in the city of Nanjing. Picture a typical snack vending machine, then replace all the chips and cookies with aerated plastic boxes containing living, moving crabs and you’ll have a perfect image of what this looks like.

The crabs are kept at a constant 5 degrees Celsius (41 F), which is cold enough to put them in a temporary stasis, but not so cold it kills them. They sell for the equivalent of about two US dollars, and the bottom row of the machine also offers bottles of ginger vinegar—a combo sort of like ketchup and french fries.


Let’s just go ahead and say it: Panda Tea is a drink made from panda poop, and it’s the single most expensive tea in the world—one dried kilo of the tea will run you about US $77,000. Why would anybody want to drink it? The theory is that pandas really only use about 30 percent of the bamboo they eat, eliminating the rest of the unprocessed bamboo in their fecal matter. It’s believed that, among other nutrients, bamboo contains antioxidants that can prevent cancer, so panda tea is marketed as an anti-cancer tonic and a weight loss aid.

The facility is located in the Sichuan Province, and the owner of Panda Tea, Yanshi An, started his company with 11 tons of dung that he bought from a nearby panda sanctuary.


From noodles to spicy chicken, everything tastes better when it’s prepared by the cold, metallic dicing hooks of a robot. This isn’t just one isolated example, either—it’s three isolated examples, showing a growing trend in robotic food service.

In 2011, inventor Cui Runquan created Chef Cui, a humanoid robot that prepares shaved noodles, a popular noodle variety in China in which the noodles are shaved by hand off a block of dough and then boiled. The robots are being mass produced and sold for the equivalent of US $2,000, and over 3,000 have already been sold.

A fast food chain in Shanghai is also using robots—but this time as the actual chefs. The obvious benefit is the efficiency: one robot can wash a dirty pot, combine the ingredients, cook the dish, and have the finished order on a plate in only three minutes. The downside? Yet one more integration that will make it easier for robots to kill us all.

Finally, if cooking wasn’t enough, you can also go to the Dalu Rebot Restaurant and have your food brought to you by a robot server. The six robots follow a rotation that allows them to serve the restaurant’s twenty-one tables before returning to the kitchen to refill their trays.


If you want a breath of fresh air in China, it’s going to cost you about five yuan. That’s how much Chen Guangbaio is selling his new line of canned air for, which is literally a soda can filled with air. This product is part publicity stunt and part environmental statement on Chinese air pollution, which is now so bad that the haze is visible from space in some areas of the country (seriously).

For the purest air, you can pick up a flavor called Pristine Tibet, and if you’re feeling nostalgic you can buy Revolutionary Yah’an or Post-Industrial Taiwan flavored air.


For a country with 1.3 billion people, it’s not surprising that China sometimes has some pretty long traffic jams—sometimes lasting for weeks. But a few entrepreneurs have turned lemons into the Chinese version of lemonade by offering a service that provides a person who will actually sit in your car for you while it’s stuck in traffic.

It works like this: If you find yourself stuck in a gridlock, you can call the service, tell them where you are, and wait for two men to arrive on a motorcycle. The stand-in will sit in your car, and the motorcycle driver will take you anywhere you need to go. The service is mostly offered around Wuhan in Central China, which typically has some of the worst traffic in the country.

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The Kingdom of the Little People is sort of like a cross between a theme park and the Shire—located in the Yunnan Province, it encompasses 13,000 acres set aside to build a miniature world that will be populated exclusively by dwarfs and open for tours like a safari. Don’t bother reading that sentence again; it’s even more offensive the second time.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Chen Mingjing, the Kingdom of the Little People is still being built, but already has over 30 tiny cottages to house the dwarfs and a parody presentation of Swan Lake, which is now open to the public. Although a lot of people are offended by the idea, Chen claims that it will provide people with permanent job opportunities when they would otherwise struggle in a difficult economy, and many of the residents of the Kingdom are proud to be part of the community.


From morally ambiguous dwarfism to vaguely racist copyright infringement, China truly has it all. In 2011, a businessman in Beijing opened China’s first OFC—Obama Fried Chicken. The restaurant uses a KFC-styled banner and logo complete with a cartoonishly grinning caricature of Barack Obama and sells fried chicken.

Believe it or not, this isn’t actually the first Obama Fried Chicken to grace the planet—or the first time China has used Obama’s image to sell chicken. The first OFC opened in Brooklyn in 2009, but closed down a short time later. And in a completely unrelated stunt, the official KFC in China released this ad in 2011 which features an actor who looks like Obama giving a speech before being crushed by a giant chicken sandwich. There’s some sort of message here…but we’re totally not spelling it out.


Arguably one of the oddest things you can buy in China is a tiny live animal on a key ring. The animals—usually a miniature Brazilian turtle or a kingfish—are enclosed in a small bag or plastic bubble that is filled with a nutrient-rich liquid that’s supposed to be able to feed the creature for up to three or four months.

Of course, the sealed container raises a lot of questions about how the animal is supposed to get oxygen, and several animal welfare services in China have understandably raised a public outcry that call these trinkets a particularly severe form of animal abuse. One of the reasons people buy them is for good luck, but supposedly many people will buy one just to set the animal free.


At the risk of sidestepping premise for a second here, you can’t actually buy white people in China—but you can rent them, which is close enough. Chinese businessmen will often rent white actors to stand beside them at important events and, well, that’s about it.

The idea is that Western businesses are successful (China’s words, not mine), and so for a Chinese businessman to be seen with a guy who could be an overseas business partner is a symbol of status and prestige. Sometimes the actor just stands there, sometimes he gives a speech, and sometimes he’ll be given a small role to play, complete with fake business cards. One actor named Jonathan Zatkin was paid to give a speech for the opening of a jewelry store and describe “how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years.”

According to Zatkin, “The requirements for these jobs are simple. 1. Be white. 2. Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all unless asked. 3. Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday.”


Here’s a fun sentence: The Jiuhua tea plantation in the Henan Province hires virgins with C-cup breasts to pick tea by grabbing the leaves with their lips and then dropping them into a wicker basket nestled between their breasts.

The women can not touch the leaves or the basket with their hands, and in addition to specifically requesting C-cup breasts, the plantation also requires that the women have no visible scars or wounds. According to the spokesperson for the company, this odd requirement comes from a legend about how the tea used to be picked by the mouths of fairies. With this method, the tea is supposed to be infused with the virility and purity of the virgins, which is then passed on to the person who drinks the tea.

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Top 10 Bizarre Relationships in Children’s Media

Ahh… love… it’s everywhere, and children’s media is no exception, in fact, sometimes the couples that are in love in these pieces of children’s media are as weird as they come. I’ve taken the liberty of sorting out some of the weirdest ones and listing them here with ten being the least weird of the group and one being totally insane. Some of these couples are more well known than others, while others are ones you probably have never heard of before. Keep in mind, I only included one couple per movie or franchise, for those that included more than one crazy couple I chose the one that was more crazy or had more success than the other.

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Premiering in 2000, Dinosaur was a revolutionary film in terms of animation. It’s the first film EVER to put computer animated characters in front of live action backgrounds. But that aspect is not what we are talking about what we are talking about is the romance in this film. Aladar is a male iguanadon that grew up with a family of lemurs… not seeing any of his kind whatsoever until he’s a full grown adult. When he does, one of the first he meets is the female iguanadon Neera. He has to get through her brother Kron before he can win over her heart but he eventually does win her over when Kron is tragically killed by a carnotaur by giving her some comfort. At the end of the film audiences were treated to seeing Aladar and Neera’s batch of eggs, as Aladar’s lemur family greets his newly hatched son into the world. This isn’t necessarily a really crazy couple but the fact that Aladar hadn’t met any of his kind until adulthood puts them on this list.

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While Manny premiered in the 2002 Ice Age Movie, Ellie didn’t come until Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006 (a big year for this list) These two are both Woolly Mammoths so it doesn’t seem that this couple is that incredibly strange unless you consider the fact that Ellie is Manny’s second mate! That’s right Manny had a mate before Ellie but she passed away a while before the first movie, a quick review of the beautiful cavepainting scene in the 2002 film will expand on this. Another factor that earned this duo’s spot on this list is the fact that for a big chunk of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ellie who was raised by a family of possums, firmly believes that she IS a possum. It’s not until, out of the blue, she remembers  her possum mom finding  her that she realizes that she is a mammoth. Even still she is extremely close to her possum “brother’s” Crash and Eddie, and the three are basically a package deal for Manny. Another bonus for this couple, in the 2009 film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Manny and Ellie welcomed their daughter Peaches into the world.

Stitch And Angel Sig By Gabziechan

Even aliens need love and Stitch is no exception, in fact, Disney took the liberty of creating a character just for the sole reason of being his girlfriend. Meet Angel experiment #624, who premiered in the 2004 “Angel” episode of Lilo and Stitch the Series. She basically looks just like Stitch but is pink with longer antennas which look uncannily like long hair. Her best talent however is her singing which she frequently uses to convince the other experiments to be either good or bad, even though she premiered in 2004 it took until the 2006 “Snafu” episode for the two to get together. The reason that these two have made it onto this list is simple… Stitch and Angel are cousins! I dunno if there are any hillbillies in Hawaii but it seems like these two pretty much mastered that area. Even so, “Angel” was voted number one best episode of the series when Disney Channel had fans of the series vote on the official website… and we wonder why we let our kids watch these shows.


Those who enjoyed the first Brother Bear movie in 2003 were in for a shocker when they sat down in front of their tvs to enjoy this straight to dvd movie that came out in 2006. In the film it is spring, the season of love and noone is immune to it’s calls, not even good old Kenai, voiced by none other than Patrick Dempsey of Greys Anatomy fame. When Kenai runs into his old pal Nita he is thrilled to say the least, until he realizes that she only wants his help to return a necklace he gave her when they were little that apparently bound them together, meaning they could only be with each other. Of course, Kenai’s ‘McDreamy’ charm wins her over and at the end of the movie she ends up dumping the other guy, and changing herself into a bear so that she could be with him. This girl literally changed into a different species so that she could be with this guy! That’s not the weirdest part of this film though, anyone who has seen this movie won’t soon forget the literal bear wedding that is featured at the end of the film.


This is the only double couple in the list, but I couldn’t list two of them without the their best friends. Everyone knows of Scooby Doo and his owner Norville “Shaggy” Rogers or Shaggy for short. Crystal and Amber on the other hand are characters that not too many people know of. In the film Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders which was released in 2000 (one of the two big years for this list) Shaggy and Scooby are sure that they have met their true loves in Crystal, an attractive female human who wears tye-dyed outfits and her pet golden retriever, Amber. They spend a great majority of the film together investigating recent reports of ‘alien activity’ in the local desert, and it seems that everything is going great until audiences were shocked with the reveal that Crystal and Amber were not what anyone thought they were, first they say that they are nature photographers, sweet! Then they say that they are not nature photographers but that they work for the government, investigating the alien reports, even more sweet! Then they say that yeah, they work for the government but not for any government on this planet… that’s right, Crystal and Amber are freaking aliens, not sweet! As Velma says “I always said everyone has somebody out there… but I never thought I meant out there.” It becomes quite obvious once this is revealed that it’s not going to work out since well long distance relationships never work out. The four part ways sadly and that was the last we saw of the groovy alien girls.


I’m not talking about the original Teen Titans comics here, I’m talking about the Cartoon Network TV show that started in 2003. Throughout the duration of this show which got canceled in early 2006 the fandom for these two was INSANE to say the least. It took until the TV movie Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo in late 2006 for the couple to actually become an item. You might be asking why in the world are these two on this list? Ok, think about this, Robin is a human… and Starfire, well, she is an alien, a Tamaranian to be exact, a Tamaranian princess to be even more exact. This is a couple made up of a mere human boy and an alien princess! They’ve made it to number five on this list because not only are they an interspecies couple (a big trend in children’s media these days as you will see with the rest of the list) but I’m sure that most male readers would love to be on the Robin side of this equation.


While they were both featured in the 2005 Madagascar movie, this wacky twosome didn’t become an official item until Madagascar 2 in 2008, making them the newest couple on this list. Audiences had no idea that it was coming until, about fifteen minutes into the second film Melman blurts out of nowhere that “I love you Gloria, I always have!” and the drama ensues. Completely oblivious to her best friend’s affections, Gloria goes off and finds a buff hippo guy to cozy up to by the name of Moto Moto (Which literally translates from Swahili into “Hot Hot”) who apparently only likes her for being “Big and Chunky”. It didn’t end sad for the tall guy however, because good old Melman Mankiewicz the third (yes, that is his real name, feel free to laugh all you want) finally managed to win Gloria over by attempting to sacrifice himself to the fire gods by jumping into a volcano… how romantic.


Like Melman and Gloria, this interspecies couple consists of a giraffe, but that’s about where the similarities end. This time around the female, Bridget is the giraffe and the male, Benny is… a squirrel. This strange couple who premiered in the 2006 film The Wild did not start off smoothly. Benny at the beginning of the film is obviously interested in Bridget, who seems to have no interest at all in having a relationship with a squirrel. Amazingly enough, by the end of the film after going through crazy adventures helping their pal Samson the lion retrieve his son Ryan, Benny is able to win Bridget over, actually earning a kiss from her! Apparently in this movie, more commonly known as Disney’s cheap version of the much more successful Madagascar series that Dreamworks created that kind of stuff happens. But hey, at least these two beat Melman and Gloria on this list… although the two couples next on the list are certainly much more bizarre.

Horton Gertrude

This couple made up of two characters who have been around for around 50 years premiered in the 2000 broadway play based off of Dr. Seuss’s works. Horton is the well-known elephant from the “Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches the Egg” books and Gertrude is the little known blue bird from one of the ‘other stories’ in “Yertle The Turtle and Other Stories”. The writers of this play however decided to be a bit daring and pair the two up anyway. In the show Gertrude McFuzz (yes, that is her real name) has been living next door to Horton for a while and has found that well… she kinda is head over heels in love with the guy. The issue? She only has a one feather tail, which she is sure is a turn off, so she goes to the doctor of the jungle and literally gets “pillberries” to make it grow. Of course, Horton takes no notice and when he is kidnapped by the circus while he is watching over Mayzie’s egg she finds that the tail is too long to allow her to fly! Gertrude gives in and gets the tail plucked and goes through (I am not kidding here) being attacked by a dog, hurting her foot and being the victim of a hit and run among other things in order to find him at the circus and rescue him. This wins Horton over and when the egg hatches the two decide to raise the Elephant Bird inside together. Oh, and by the way, this play closed on broadway after only seven months, apparently the plot was too complicated, go figure.


This could quite possibly be the most well known couple on this list. This crazy couple made up of a talking donkey and a fire-breathing dragon first premiered in the 2001 film Shrek and are going strong. Like Horton and Gertrude, Bridget and Benny and Melman and Gloria above, they are an interspecies couple. However, Donkey and Dragon have 5 little things that shot them up to this number one spot, Their names are Peanut, Parfait, Coco, Bananas and Debbie and they are Dronkeys. That’s right, Donkey and Dragon somehow managed to mate and produce a litter of 6 kids who premiered in Shrek 2 in 2004. Note that I only said five names though, sadly enough one of the six mysteriously disappeared between Shrek 2 and Shrek the third which premiered with only 5 Dronkeys in 2007. Don’t ask how they managed to have kids though, even Donkey has no idea. In Shrek The Third when Shrek mentions that he knows how Fiona got pregnant, he just can’t believe it happened, Donkey responds with a serious “How does it happen?”

Honorable Mentions: Shrek/Fiona from the Shrek Franchise, Doppler/Amelia from Treasure Planet, Skipper/Bobblehead Doll from the Madagascar Franchise.

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10 Crazy Courtship Rituals Around The World

Being in love can make people do the strangest things. It just goes to show that animals aren’t the only ones capable of exhibiting bizarre courting behavior—not by a long shot. In the tradition of Valentine’s Day, let’s look at some cultures around the world—and the crazy stuff people do for love.

10Night Hunting


Love can make boys do crazy stuff, like sneaking up into a girl’s room in the dead of night—all the while risking arrest or a shotgun to the face by an angry father. For the men of Bhutan, this tradition has been ingrained in their culture for the longest time—a form of courtship known as “night hunting.”

Formally known as “bomena,” night hunting started in the eastern rural areas of Bhutan, and involved a man who would sneak up into a girl’s room and spend the night there. If caught, he would have to either marry the girl or work it off on the girl’s family’s fields. In the worst-case scenario, the man would leave the girl after he impregnated her.

Night hunting continues to be observed today, especially by the eastern folks of Bhutan. To combat this, DNA testing and several laws were put into place to afford women protection. Also, families have now secured their homes with steel locks in order to prevent a hunter from entering. Debates are still ongoing as to the moral and ethical aspects of the practice. Whether night hunting will continue or dies out remains to be seen.

9Fighting With Pandanus Leaves

People of the Balinese village of Tenganan have taken fighting for love up a notch with their highly ritualized Usaba Sambah Festival. The event, which happens every May, is also a sort of coming-of-age rite for all the unmarried men of the village—and the perfect chance for them to attract the ladies. The men fight inside an arena, armed with the thorny leaves of the pandanus plant, and with only a bamboo shield to protect them. As one might surmise, blood flows freely among the combatants.

Meanwhile, the unmarried girls—far from being squeamish—are usually eagerly watching the action. To ensure they get the best view, the girls are placed on a foot-powered Ferris wheel (you read that right) that stops turning only when all the men have finished fighting—a process that takes several hours. If it’s any consolation to the guy powering the Ferris wheel, sometimes there are zero single ladies in the village.

8Japanese Matchmaking


For the notoriously self-effacing Japanese, finding a spouse could be a bit troublesome. Thankfully, that problem has been remedied with the time-honored practice of omiai. Although to outsiders omiai means nothing more than an arranged marriage, the practice itself is far more elaborate. Before any meet-ups, the matchmaker conducts a comprehensive background check of the man and woman, as well as their families. An exchange of pictures between the candidates and their families also occurs. The stringent cross-examination ensures that the families are well-suited to each other and also lessens the chances of future conflict.

Omiai started during Japan’s feudal age and was utilized mostly for political alliances. The practice greatly declined after World War II, when the resulting Western influx influenced young Japanese couples to go out on dates. However, the practice of omiai is still used to a large extent by the Japanese, especially those in the upper tier of society. Even major corporations like Mitsubishi have used omiai, mainly to help their employees find a marriage partner.

7A Message Wrapped In Rice


The girls of the Miao ethnic group in Southwest China have a very unique method of communicating their love. During their Sisters’ Meal Festival in April—which is their equivalent of Valentine’s Day—the girls dress ornately and cook lots of sticky rice in four different colors, with the colors representing the four main seasons of the year. They then give the rice, rolled in a handkerchief, to the suitors who serenaded them.

If the man wants to find out if he has landed a girl, he must unwrap the handkerchief and sift through the rice. If he finds two red chopsticks, then good news: It means the girl likes him back. If it’s only one chopstick, then the girl has politely turned him down. Woe to the man who finds a garlic or chili: It means the girl has just flat-out rejected him. A girl who hasn’t made up her mind will put in a pine needle. That signifies her intention to wait for the man—provided he gives her more gifts.

6Love Huts


Unthinkable for most prudish fathers is the thought of their precious daughter having to spend the night alone with a suitor. For two ethnic groups, this has been a long-cherished tradition.

Let’s start with the Zulus. Although other parts of Africa practice it, the Zulus are especially noted for their bizarre take on the tradition. During the latter stages of the courtship phase, the father of the girl builds a separate hut, where she and her suitor can meet at night. Far from being liberal, the father is actually quite strict in doing this—by building the hut he does not allow the suitor into his home, nor does he acknowledge the courtship. It is only when he asks his daughter to get cattle from her suitor that the father finally recognizes his existence.

Fathers of the Kreung tribe in Cambodia’s northeast areas, on the other hand, are very liberal on that notion. Not only do they build love huts for their daughters, they also encourage them to take in as many boys as they want (sometimes on a single night), until they finally find their true love. While this may sound like a setting for a bad porn movie, incidences of rape are very low and divorce is virtually non-existent among the people. The Kreung actually value a long-lasting marriage—hence the search through so many suitors.

5Buying A Bride


Thanks to technology, finding a lifetime partner has never been this easy, as highlighted by the innumerable mail-order brides and dating websites that have popped up on the Internet. However, the practice of buying love has long been entrenched in the Thai province of Chiang Rai.

The process starts innocently enough: A man comes up to a girl he’s interested in and starts flirting. If she likes him back, they go on a date to get to know each other better. At this point, the whole process gets fast-forwarded. The pair go to the woman’s house, where the man negotiates with the girl’s mother for her price and the length of time she gets to stay with him. After everything is settled, the girl can now stay with the man. Depending on the agreement, that stay can range from a few months to a whole year. If the man likes the girl enough, he can also opt to buy her for a lifetime of companionship.

4Men’s Beauty Pageant


In the African tribe of Wodaabe, it is the men (and not the women) who dress to impress. Men of this tribe value beauty, and often spend most of their days grooming and adorning themselves, in order to appear attractive to the women. The preening takes on epic proportions, especially during their annual courtship festival, called “Gerewol.” In this week-long festival, the men dress to the nines and enter a dancing competition called the “Yaake.” In this dance, the competitors form a single line and dance away, while being watched by a mostly-female audience. The judging panel itself usually consists of three women, who choose the winners based on their dancing skills and overall good looks.

While it’s mostly fun and games for the women, the festival is no cakewalk for the men involved—the dance itself takes place in the sweltering heat, for several hours a day.

3Courtship Whistling


While boys are usually taught that whistling at members of the opposite sex is bad manners, the Kickapoo tribe of Mexico have used it for decades to whisper sweet nothings to their lovers. The practice itself is relatively young (lovers used to communicate with a flute up until 1915). The whistling usually takes place inside the village, during dusk, and is a way for a couple to plan their meet-up for the evening.

To prevent any mix-ups, couples have their own unique tones that they can easily recognize. As anyone in the village can hear it, the couple must also code their whistles carefully to make sure that only they can understand the message. While the whistling itself is usually just a short message, full-length conversations can also take place between the couple. The practice itself isn’t in danger of dying out soon—the boy will often bring a younger brother along, so that he too can learn the art of whistling.

2Sweat-Scented Hankies


If the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then for women it must be the nose—according to some very innovative lotharios. In some anecdotal accounts, European men (and a few others in different parts of the world) would wear handkerchiefs underneath their armpits before attending a dance. Afterwards, the man would use his sweat-scented hankie to wipe the perspiration off his love interest’s face. Presumably, the girl would find the scent irresistible and fall madly in love with the man.

If you think that’s gross, during the 19th century some women in the rural parts of Austria would feed their men an apple slice they had lodged in their armpits during a dance. Even the royal folks could not resist the allure of the other sex’s scent, as exemplified by one noble who fell in love with the owner of a sweaty chemise that he had mistakenly used as a towel. Clearly there’s something to this olfactory business.

1Dyngus Day


For those looking to have fun and maybe get a date after a rigorous observance of Easter, Dyngus Day is the perfect day. In this post-Lent festival, boys and girls douse those they liked with water or perfume. Aside from that, the boys also gently whip the girls they fancy with pussy willows. Roots of this Slavic festival can be traced back to pre-Christian times, where the dousing and whipping signified cleansing and renewal. Later on, the dousing came to be associated with the baptism of the first Christian leader of Poland, Mieszko I.

Nowadays, Dyngus Day is celebrated in countries around the world with a large Polish population. The festival is especially popular in Buffalo, New York, where Polish immigrants brought the tradition five decades ago. It has since become the perfect excuse for people to go out and find their future mates—with some revelers coming in from faraway states to celebrate the festival.

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