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General Knowledge


Given that these swimsuits are a common sight on beaches around the world, it is easy to assume that the bikini was simply invented and then slipped seamlessly into mainstream usage. But that is certainly not the case.

Not only can the origins of this thoroughly modern outfit be traced back much further than we might expect, the road to its current status was a long and bumpy one. This list details some of the obscure facts about the bikini’s creation and development.

10 They Were Wearing Them In Ancient Times

The bikini is commonly considered to have been invented in France shortly after the end of World War II. But we have clear evidence that bikini-like costumes existed long before this.

All the way back in 5600 BC, artists in the ancient settlement called Catalhoyuk—which was located in the southern part of Anatolia—were producing work that showed their goddess wearing an outfit that looks like a bikini. Furthermore, paintings and urns dating back to ancient Greece in 1400 BC clearly show women dressed in two-piece outfits that are a forerunner of the bikinis worn today. They were taking part in sporting or athletic activities.

A prototype of the bikini was also a feature of ancient Rome. Sicily’s Villa Romana del Casale contains a mosaic artwork called “Coronation of the Winner” that shows women in costumes that are almost identical to the bikini of today. These women were playing handball, running, and throwing the discus.[1]

9 They Were Featured In Ancient Literature As Well

Visual examples are not the only evidence that the bikini or similar items of clothing go back a long way. There are also a number of references to such garments throughout ancient literature.

Ovid, one of the three major Latin poets, writes about the potential for a woman to conceal love letters inside a top that he describes as looking like a strip of cloth worn around the chest area. That certainly sounds a lot like a bikini top.

Martial, a second Latin poet who came from Hispania and lived between AD 86 and AD 103, wrote a satirical piece of poetry about a rather butch female athlete. He describes her as eating, drinking, vomiting, and possibly having sex with other women while wearing an outfit that clearly mirrors what we would consider a bikini.

Another piece by Martial includes a mention of a prostitute called Chione wearing a bikini to a bathhouse.[2] Ironically, given how risque the costume was considered when it was introduced during the 1940s, it is portrayed in this satire as being an example of an immodest woman trying to conceal her true nature—as most women would have been naked when visiting the bathhouse and a prostitute would frequently be naked in front of others.

8 They Were Previewed On The Silver Screen

Most people know that movie stars helped to popularize the bikini. The French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot was famously photographed in one during the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, which caused sales of the swimsuit to skyrocket almost immediately in France.

Fewer people know that clothing almost identical to the modern bikini had appeared on the actual screen two decades earlier in a number of movies made during the legendary 1930s Hollywood era. This was before the National Legion of Decency’s production code (and strict adherence to the Hays Code) came into force.

The great Busby Berkeley musical Gold Diggers of 1933 features dancers wearing bikini-style, two-piece swimsuits made of coins,[3] while chorus girls are in skimpy, two-piece bathing outfits in the following year’s Fashions of 1934. Pre-Code Hollywood is often celebrated for its daring and progressiveness, and this is another example of it being far ahead of its time.

7 The War Helped Bring Them About

The bikini as we know it today did not achieve mainstream acceptance in the US until the 1960s. But the process was kick-started 20 years earlier when more modest two-piece swimsuits hit beaches in America with a little help from World War II.

With the US at war in 1942 and needing uniforms for the 16 million men and women who were fighting for their country, the nation’s War Production Board forced civilian clothing manufacturers to reduce the amount of fabric they used. The actual regulation with such an impact on our culture was L-85.[4]

It did not only apply to those who made swimwear, but it did lead those manufacturers to come up with a smart solution to the problem. They devised two-piece costumes as a way of complying with L-85. The exposed midriff meant less fabric was needed.

The following year, further fabric rationing saw women’s swimsuits become even briefer. By this time, two-piece swimsuits were common in publicity photos of Hollywood actresses like Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner. This made women more comfortable with them.

6 The Name Has Dark Associations

The man who is credited with the creation of the bikini is Louis Reard, an engineer from France, with the grand launch of his invention taking place on July 5, 1946. This period just after World War II was when the atomic bomb was undergoing testing by US scientists. The chosen site for a lot of these deadly tests was the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Reard’s unveiling of his controversially skimpy new bathing suit took place just days after one of these deadly bomb tests. Clearly, the issue was on his mind as he chose to name his garment after the test location.[5]

The inspiration for the design was Reard witnessing Saint-Tropez sunbathers trying to increase their tanning areas by rolling up parts of their swimsuits. But the name he chose suggests that he was not oblivious to events in the wider world. To be fair to Reard, the launch of the bikini created shock waves around the globe, so maybe it wasn’t such an odd choice.

5 Reard Had A Rival

While Reard claimed a place in the history books, it could have been a lot different as there was another man during the same period who had similar ideas. Jacques Heim was a fashion designer from France who ran a shop in Cannes that sold swimwear.

In May 1946, two whole months before Reard launched his creation, Heim debuted a new two-piece swimming costume. He gave it the name Atome, which means “atom” in French. He emphasized its skimpiness by comparing it to the tiniest known particle of matter.

Given that he got there first, why didn’t Heim go down in history as the man who came up with the bikini?

He brought in skywriters to advertise his creation as the smallest female bathing suit ever, only for Reard to do the same a few weeks later. By wittily stating that it had “split the Atome,” Reard’s ad pointed out that his creation was even scantier than his rival’s.[6]

Ultimately, Reard was the man who took the plaudits due to a combination of his more radical, eye-catching design and his chosen name, Bikini, resonating with the public in a way that Atome did not.

4 Resistance To Them Was Fierce

The bikini attracted a fierce backlash when it first appeared. The design was considered so scandalous that no professional model was prepared to wear one for its official launch. Reard had to pay 19-year-old Micheline Bernardini, who worked as a nude dancer at the Casino de Paris, to model it.[7]

The press conference also produced outrage from the journalists who were present due to the exposure of Bernardini’s belly button. In fact, the bikini was instantly banned in a number of places, including France, Italy, and Spain. The swimsuit was also greeted with disapproval in the US.

An attempt was made to bring it into the mainstream through the Miss World competition of 1951. But when winner Kiki Hakansson of Sweden received her prize wearing a bikini, religious groups caused such a fuss that the organizers of Miss World and other beauty pageants banned the costume.

3 They Were A Lot More Practical Than Some Of Their Precursors

The advent of the bikini must have come as a great relief to many women considering the impractical things they had to wear on the beach in earlier eras. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a strong emphasis on female modesty when swimming. Women had to wear full-body costumes—complete with stockings—that were made of materials like wool or flannel.

Aside from being extremely uncomfortable in hot weather, these garments were unsuitable for actual bathing because the wool retained water. As soon as a woman spent any time swimming, the suit would become heavy, shapeless, and baggy. Drying it was also incredibly difficult.[8]

The bikini represented the endpoint of a move toward focusing on practicality when creating swimwear for women. That movement was started by Australian professional swimmer Annette Kellerman who had previously endured a 1907 arrest at a Massachusetts beach for wearing a formfitting, one-piece costume with bare legs.

2 There Are Lots Of Different Types Of Bikini These Days

It took a long time for this type of swimsuit to become socially acceptable. But once it happened, the bikini went on to spawn multiple variants of the original.

One of the first was the string bikini. It is believed to have been unintentionally created by Rose de Primallio, a fashion model from Brazil, after she was left with a minimal amount of fabric to make an outfit for a shoot. However, PR man Glen Tororich and his model wife, Brandi Perret-DuJon, officially launched this swimsuit at the grand opening of a shopping mall in New Orleans during 1974.

The monokini, which was created in the mid-1960s by Rudi Gernreich, was initially a swimsuit with a tight bottom half and two thin strings that left a woman’s breasts exposed. (Other versions have been created as well.) For obvious reasons, this has remained a more niche variant, just as with Gernreich’s obscure pubikini.

Another version that reduces the material is the microkini, which pushes exposure to the absolute limit permitted in most countries. The tankini, which first appeared in the late 1990s, works on the principle of concealing more by combining bikini bottoms with a tank top. Meanwhile, the skirtini reverses this by featuring standard bikini tops and skirt bottoms.

Finally, the controversial burkini covers the entire body and was specifically designed by Australian Aheda Zanetti for Muslim women to wear at the beach.[9] This outfit was banned in various parts of France during 2016, although the ban was overturned on appeal.

1 But You Couldn’t Afford The Most Expensive One

While the swimsuits just discussed could be worn by anyone bold enough, some bikinis are definitely beyond the financial reach of ordinary people. One example created in 1977 was made of platinum, cost nearly $10,000, and was worn by Miss United Kingdom at that year’s Miss World Contest. At the time, it was the most expensive bikini ever made.

In 2006, it was overtaken by a creation from fashion designer Susan Rosen that cost a staggering $30 million and was made entirely of flawless 150-carat diamonds. This sounds as uncomfortable to wear as it would be unaffordable for most.[10]

However, there is always the “bling-kini.” Made by fashion design firm Pistol Panties in 2009, the bling-kini has a covering of 5,000 Swarovski crystals and would only set the buyer back £2,000.

I am a freelance writer who has written jokes and sketches for BBC radio comedy shows. I have also written and directed short films as part of the groups Ensemble and Wardlaw Films.


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The ancient Romans are well-known for keeping an abundance of written records about their society. Sometimes, it almost seems as though we know more about them than we do about ourselves.

Of course, World History and History of Western Civilization courses and textbooks always cover the history of the Romans. After all, so much of modern society and politics mirrors their achievements. However, some facts never seem to come up in class, many of which are quite strange. Some even border on the fantastical.

10 The Romans Closely Guarded Books That Foretold Events To Come

Locked away from prying eyes were books written in spidery Greek that spoke of the future of Rome and her citizens, including its inevitable end. These tomes were kept within the Temple of Jupiter where only the most skilled interpreter was permitted to trace his gnarled finger across the faded lines to determine what was to happen and how best to prevent it.

Legend has it that an old lady approached King Tarquin way back when Rome was still ruled by Etruscan kings. She offered him nine books at an absurd price, which he promptly refused with a hearty “Harrumph!”

She proceeded to burn three of the books and then returned with the remaining six, still demanding the same price. Once again, he refused. But this time, he began to question what he was turning down.

When she returned with three books after burning three more, he quickly bought the tomes. Upon perusing the battered manuscripts, it was apparent that they were books of prophecy for they told of Rome’s imminent rise and fall.

Many associated the old lady with a sibyl who had foretold the fall of Troy. From that day forward, the books were kept secret and closely guarded, only to be brought out when Rome was in peril and in need of answers.[1]

9 Crassus’s Fire Brigade Was The Most Corrupt Fire Department Ever

Rome’s First Triumvirate consisted of three very powerful men: Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompey, and Marcus Crassus. Due to the overwhelming shadow of Caesar and Pompey, Crassus tends to fall by the wayside in most history classes. This is a shame because he was a veritable misanthrope whose avarice and lack of humanity were legendary.

One of the lesser-known stories about him concerns his fire brigade. After all, what great municipality would be complete without emergency units to respond to catastrophes such as a raging fire threatening to engulf one’s home?

Except this unit would arrive on the scene only to refuse their services until the owner sold his property cheap to Crassus. Imagine seeing your home lit up like a bonfire, just begging to be doused by the firefighters standing not 5 meters (15 ft) away, and your only options are to let it all burn away or sell it for far less than it’s worth.[2]

8 The Publicani Were Basically The Mafia Of Ancient Rome

Ah, the tax collector. What a thankless occupation. Especially if your sole purpose in life is to bleed others dry while you reap the benefits. Believe it or not, tax collectors today are far more benevolent than their ancient counterparts.

During the second century BC, Roman businessmen called the publicani dominated the ancient world. Arriving at newly conquered provinces, they would engage in tax farming with many of the hapless provincials. As has been the wont of the upper 1 percent throughout human history, they absolutely adored squeezing as much money as they could out of the poor and downright stomping on the poorest of the poor.

The wealth amassed by the publicani led them to control trade, banking, and shipping. They became notorious for their brutal tactics as they strong-armed Easterners (including the Greeks, who were Easterners to the Romans). The publicani would collect a tax called the decuma (10 percent harvest tax), much of which went to the Roman government.[3]

As a portion of this wealth found its way into the pockets of Roman politicians, the actions of the publicani were largely tolerated, even if they were tacitly condemned.

7 A Man Infiltrated A Festival Exclusively For Women

It’s December. Pine trees are in your house, carols are in the air, and specials such as Charlie Brown and the Grinch are on TV. You guessed it. It’s the festival of the Good Goddess.

This was a time in ancient Rome when the women would gather together to celebrate the rites of the goddess while the men hid away. Men were not permitted to partake in this festival. Even statues of men were to be veiled.

However, that did not stop Publius Clodius Pulcher from dissembling as a flute girl (or a harpist, according to some accounts) and creepily surveying the multitude of ladies in his midst. Of course, the women grew suspicious of the flute girl whom none recognized.

Their suspicions were duly confirmed when the woman, once questioned, answered in a deep voice that smacked of masculinity. Naturally, the rites were suspended, a trial was held, and Clodius was left to nurse his irreparably damaged reputation.[4]

6 King Mithridates Grew Up In The Wild And Was Immune To Poison

Although technically not Roman, King Mithridates VI of Pontus played an enormous role in the history of Rome. He was one of the greatest threats to the Roman State, easily rivaling the likes of Hannibal of Carthage.

As a child, Mithridates was maliciously persecuted by his mother. Forced to take refuge in a forest, he lived there for seven years, where he battled wild beasts and subsisted on deer. He also developed a fascination with toxicology, repeatedly ingesting sublethal doses of poisons until he became immune to them.

Unfortunately, this strategy backfired when he was blockaded in his bedroom by sympathizers of Pompey. Mithridates’s attempt at suicide by poison failed, and he was forced to ask one of his loyal guards to take a blade and run him through.[5]

5 Sergius Orata Invented The ‘Hanging Baths’

Much like today, many wealthy city dwellers in the ancient world vacationed at resorts to escape the poor. For the Romans, Puteoli was the place to be. They quickly bought up property so that those awful poor people would never be able to set foot in that region.

A resourceful entrepreneur named Sergius Orata was renowned for his oyster beds. He served up the tastiest oysters this side of the Rubicon. However, he was also known for a popular invention called balneae pensiles (“hanging baths”).

Interestingly, they are called “hanging baths” due to a literal translation of the Latin words. But to this day, historians cannot agree on what they were actually meant to be. Some have argued that these were hot showers, while others believe that they were underfloor central heating systems.

The first argument doesn’t work because balneae means “baths,” not “showers.” The second explanation also seems unlikely because there was already a term for such a system: “hypocaust.”[6]

So, what were they exactly? Showers? Baths? Hypocausts?

4 Emperor Caligula Appointed His Horse As A Member Of The Senate

According to the historian Suetonius, Emperor Caligula adored his horse Incitatus. In fact, he loved that animal so much that he named the steed as a member of the Senate.

Was this a sign of madness?[7]

Well, many scholars have argued that this was done to insult and humiliate senators and other elites. Caligula’s relatively brief reign was characterized by a feud between himself and the Roman Senate and efforts by the emperor to enhance his power within the empire. By bestowing a high public office on his horse, Caligula made it clear to his underlings that their work was so meaningless that an animal could do it.

3 The Romans Worshiped Gods Of Excrement

Sterculius was the Roman god of manure and fertilizer. He was merely one of a seemingly countless number of god-spirits that early Romans believed had to be bribed and worshiped if all aspects of life were to proceed smoothly.

This included prayers to Cloacina, the sewer goddess, as well as Crepitus, the god of toilets. Cloacina was the patron goddess of the main drain of the city of Rome, which was known as the Cloaca Maxima.[8]

The Romans came to regard Cloacina in a variety of other ways. For example, they eventually referred to her as the goddess of purity, the goddess of filth, and the protector of sexual intercourse in marriage. Over the ages, she came to be affiliated with Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, and gradually became known to many as the Venus Cloacina.

2 Handful Of Women Were Accused Of Mass Murder By Poisoning

The subject of poisons and poisoning is often broached in Roman literature. The crime of poisoning seems to have occurred much more often in ancient than in modern times. The first record of this type of offense in Rome tells of a high mortality. Although this likely resulted from a pestilence, it was attributed to poisoning.

After many prominent citizens had perished from the same ailment, a slave girl informed the curule aediles (formal magistrates) that the sudden spike in fatalities was due to the poisons prepared and administered by the Roman matrons. Twenty matrons, including patrician ladies, were discovered in the act of brewing poisons, which they argued were salutary.

How did the authorities prove their guilt?

By forcing the women to drink their own concoctions. In the end, they all perished from their own brews. Following this, 170 more were found guilty of the same offense.

Was this some form of ancient terrorism? Who were these women, and what was their motive? Well, some argue that the deaths were caused by a pestilence, not by poisoning. Unfortunately, we may never learn the truth.[9]

1 Rome Was Ruled By A Transsexual Emperor

Although Emperor Elagabalus is well-known by historians, most people have never heard of him. Not surprisingly, most schools that teach ancient Roman history will avoid this subject as it features an emperor who was transsexual.

The topic of Elagabalus’s genitalia occurs often in many accounts of him. Sources maintain that Elagabalus was circumcised as required by the priestly profession. There are claims that his penis was infibulated.

According to the Roman historian and statesman Dio Cassius, Elagabalus desired castration, though not for the sake of religion. In fact, according to Cassius, this was done for the sake of “effeminacy.”

Many historians today interpret this to mean that the young emperor was transsexual. Although initially supported by the Roman army, Elagabalus was despised by the powerful men of the Senate. In the end, Elagabalus was murdered and his mutilated corpse was dragged through the streets, ultimately to be tossed into the Tiber.[10]


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At his peak, Isaac Newton had one of the most rational minds in human history. His was a brain unlike any other, one that allowed him to develop the fundamental laws of gravity and physics as well as make significant contributions to calculus, the latter of which he did in less time than it takes most people to learn it.

But every exceptional mind is an unusual one, and none were more so than the mind of Isaac Newton. As Newton’s life dragged on, his grip on sanity slowly started to slip, and his interests twisted away from the scientific and into the mystical.

Newton wrote ten million words throughout his life, but most of them had nothing to do with science. The overwhelming majority of the thoughts he put to paper were about alchemy, prophecies, and ancient mysticism—a strange, little-known side to one of the greatest scientific minds in human history.

10 Isaac Newton Threatens To Burn His Mother Alive

Isaac Newton was devoutly religious. He studied the Bible with every bit as much passion as he poured into science.

At the young age of 20, while his sanity was still well intact, Newton sat down and wrote a list of his 57 most grievous sins as his way of begging for forgiveness.[1] Some of them are bland, insignificant things like eating an apple while at church—but hidden among them are some that foreshadow the mental instability that was to plague him later in life.

Newton, it seems, could get violent. He asked God for forgiveness for punching his sister and, later, for going all out and beating a man named Arthur Storer. And then, it seems, he lost all sense of who he was against. His sins became more open-ended: “striking many” and “wishing death and hoping it to some.”

His mother and his stepfather, Barnabas Smith, got the worst of his wrath. One of the many sins to which the young Newton confessed was “threatening my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them.”

9 Isaac Newton And The Philosopher’s Stone

In the later years of his life, Isaac Newton began a wild search for the philosopher’s stone. This, as some people believed in his time, was a mystical substance that could change base metals like lead into gold and could grant anyone who drank it eternal life.

To Newton, this was no superstition—this was a genuine science. For whatever reason, he fully and completely believed that the philosopher’s stone was real.[2] He studied every paper on alchemy he could find and ran test after test in a lab of his own making, struggling to create an elixir that would give him eternal life.

The key, Newton seems to have believed, was mercury. In his notes, he had a recipe written by other alchemists that called for “sophick mercury,” and he seems to have created some of his own. For years, then, he was cooped up in a lab, inhaling the toxic vapors from mercury.

He even drank it. It’s quite likely that Newton tried one of his recipes himself, as he left a note complaining that the taste of mercury was “strong, sourish, ungrateful.”

Some think this was the start of his madness, that the mercury in his body contaminated his brain and drove his insane. Mercury had certainly spread into his body: In the 1970s, a sample of his hair showed 40 times the normal levels of mercury.

8 2060: The Year Newton Said The World Would End

The world was going to end, Isaac Newton declared in a treatise, in the year 2060. That would be the year that an angel would fly across the heavens declaring the Gospel, that the empire of Babylon would fall, and that Christ would return to usher in a new era of divinely inspired peace.

Newton was quite literal about all of that. He didn’t think there would be a metaphorical angel—he insisted an actual angel would be seen flying through the sky in the year 2060. And he was quite confident that he was right. After all, he’d done the math.

He wrote a complicated proof that leaned heavily on the Books of Daniel and Revelations and that, to most people, is largely incomprehensible. Here, excerpted, is but a small part of it:

The time times & half a time are 42 months or 1260 days or three years & an half, recconing twelve months to a yeare & 30 days to a month as was done in the Calendar of the primitive year.[3]

Whatever his logic, he concluded that the world would end in the year 2060—or possibly a little later but certainly not any sooner.

It’s all very strange, but the weirdest part is that Newton believed himself to be acting quite rationally. He was merely correcting the “rash conjecture of fancifull men,” as he put it, who foolishly put the apocalypse on an earlier date. He was simply providing the world with a more rational, carefully calculated doomsday prophecy.

7 The Catholic Church And The Beast Of The Apocalypse

The beginning of the end, Newton believed, had already come. Newton, in a long treatise on the apocalypse, claimed that some of Daniel’s prophecies had already come true.

The Eleven-Horned Beast of Doomsday, which, according to the Book of Daniel, will rise up and speak blasphemies against the Lord and force the kings of the world to bow down before it, had already risen into power. It was the Catholic Church.

Newton wrote a whole paper arguing that the Church “gives laws to kings and nations as an Oracle; and pretends to Infallibility, and that his dictates are binding to the whole world.”[4] In it, he accused the Catholic church of preaching blasphemies by supporting “the invocation of the dead, and veneration of their images,” presumably referring to the veneration of saints.

The world, Newton believed, was already in the End Times. The Beast had already come into power, and the total end of the world was only a few centuries away.

6 The Magical Properties Of ‘Menstrual Blood’

Isaac Newton tried to keep his quest for the philosopher’s stone secret. Some of his recipes, though, were still among his things when he died, so they’ve slipped out into the world today.

The ingredients were strange, to say the least. Among the many different experiments he tried, one very directly called for “the menstrual blood of the sordid whore.”

It’s not as bad as it sounds—probably. Alchemy was such a secretive business that most alchemists wrote in code, and it’s believed that “the menstrual blood of the sordid whore” was a code that referred to something else. His other recipes, after all, called for things like “the Green Lion.”

According to Professor Bill Newman, “menstrual blood” was probably Newton’s code for metallic antimony.[5] Still, even that shows just how willing Newton was to believe in magic. Metallic (or metalline) antimony, according to the more superstitious of his day, was a magical substance with mystic powers of transmutation.

5 Isaac Newton And The Mystery Of The Emerald Tablet

Among his notes, when he died, was found a handwritten translation Isaac Newton had done himself of the Emerald Tablet—a mystical text that was supposed to give the key to the force of life.

According to legends, the Emerald Tablet was a divine engraving made by Hermes Trismegistus, a “thrice great” pagan prophet who was supposed to be some kind of a cross between the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.[6]

The Emerald Tablet, it was said, taught the secrets of the prima materia: a formless substance that had made up all things at the beginning of time and that still permeates all things.

If this all sounds like the plot to a Harry Potter book to you, you certainly aren’t alone—but to Isaac Newton, this was serious business. Newton seems to have believed that there was a coded message hidden within the Emerald Tablet that would let him control the prima materia and turn any element into any other, and he wrote a whole series of notes trying to unpack its secrets.

4 The Temple Of Solomon: God’s Miniaturized Version Of The Universe

Another of Newton’s pet projects was an extremely long and extremely detailed analysis of the Temple of Solomon. It’s incredibly thorough work, in which Newton tries to measure the exact dimensions and the uses of every room in the Biblical King Solomon’s temple.

It wasn’t just a fascination with architecture that led him to take on such a massive project. Newton was convinced that the Temple of Solomon held the key to God’s design of the universe. He believed that the Bible was full of coded clues that only the wise could crack, and if he could figure out what Solomon’s temple looked like, he’d figure out the nature of the entire universe.[7]

This wasn’t some casual pastime for Newton. He taught himself Hebrew and Latin so that he could go through the original translations of the Bible and of ancient Jewish texts, just to make sure he didn’t get a single detail wrong.

Figuring out gravity was all well and good, it seems—but the real key to understanding the universe, for Newton, lay in cracking a coded message hidden in the Bible.

3 The Seven Mystical Colors Of The Rainbow

Isaac Newton was the man who came up with the seven colors of the rainbow we all learned in school: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

If you’ve ever thought that one of those colors is not like the others, you aren’t wrong. Indigo, today, is generally accepted to be a fairly pointless addition to the list, since it’s really just another shade of violet. Newton slipped it in, though, purely for the sake of giving the rainbow seven colors. Because, in Newton’s mind, the number seven was holy.

Newton was following an old, mystical belief that the number seven was the “spirit of everything.”[8] It’s a number, after all, that shows up all over the Bible: God created the world in seven days, Joseph predicted a seven-year famine, Jesus fed the people with seven loaves of bread, and the apocalypse is to be heralded with seven seals and seven trumpets.

Newton slipped indigo into the list, convinced that all of God’s creations should work off the mystic number of seven. And 300 years later, we’re still taught it in school.

2 Isaac Newton And The Fate Of Atlantis

Newton didn’t just write about Christian beliefs. He also whole a treatise on the lost city of Atlantis, analyzing the work of Plato and Homer to try to figure out where the sunken city was hiding.

Atlantis, Newton insisted, was a fairly ordinary city-state that had been overblown over time. It had been destroyed in a great flood that covered the whole world—but the city didn’t stay underwater, and not everyone died.

Newton wrote that the princess of Atlantis had survived. She was Calypso, he said: the nymph from the Odyssey. When Odysseus landed on Calypso’s island, he was landing on the remains of Atlantis and meeting the last few survivors.

He even had dates for everything. Based on Newton’s calculations, Atlantis sank in 1796 BC, and Ulysses landed there in 896 BC—meaning that, at the time, Calypso would have been at least 900 years old.[9]

It’s not entirely clear how Newton came to any of these conclusions. At this point in his life, though, he was clearly ready to believe that the entire planet had been flooded at once, that the story of the Odyssey was word-for-word true, and that the people of Atlantis could live well into their thousands.

1 Isaac Newton’s Complete Mental Breakdown

Newton’s mental breakdown, from time to time, would spill out of his study. He did more than sit around writing weird, mystical treatises—every now and then, he got out and talked to his friends and was just absolutely awful to them.

During a 12-month period starting in 1693, Newton barely barely slept. He slept an hour on the best nights, hardly touched food, and, at his darkest moment, went a full five nights without sleeping at all.

He started having crazy, paranoid thoughts that his friends were out to get him and lashed out at them, sometimes violently. At one point, when he found that his friend, philosopher John Locke, was ill, Newton screamed: “Twere better if you were dead!”

John Locke was conspiring against Newton, he believed—but not to kill him. Locke’s secret plan was to “embroil [him] with women”—or, in other words, to get Newton to break his lifetime of chastity by finally getting him a girlfriend.

Newton still had moments of lucidity. In another letter to Locke, he told him that he remembered writing him a letter but couldn’t recall what he’d said and begged Locke to let him know if it was something terrible.

He knew something was wrong with him. He had lost his “former consistency of mind,” he told his friend, Samuel Pepys, and he’d become a danger to his friends.[10] It was no longer safe for him to be around them.

“[I] am now sensible that I must withdraw from your acquaintance, and see neither you nor the rest of my friends any more, if I may but leave them quietly,” he wrote in what was meant to be his final letter to his friend. “I beg your pardon for saying I would see you again.”

Mark Oliver

Mark Oliver is a regular contributor to Listverse. His writing also appears on a number of other sites, including The Onion’s StarWipe and Cracked.com. His website is regularly updated with everything he writes.

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General Knowledge


The Third Reich, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, ruled Germany for 12 years. Their reign of terror changed the world forever.

Many Germans were deceived by Hitler. In the early years, they embraced him as the savior who would pull Germany out of a long economic depression and make their country great again. There was a lot of emphasis on national pride. The Nazi Party promised young Germans a new future in a brand-new Germany, and millions of children eagerly joined the Hitler Youth and similar clubs. Not only were the outings fun, but the youth enjoyed wearing uniforms, waving flags, and earning badges.

But not all of the young people in Germany and other Nazi-occupied areas were deluded by the propaganda. In a time when free speech could have deadly consequences, some wrote and distributed pamphlets denouncing the Nazi regime. Others hid Jews or spied for the underground. Some even stole weapons and sabotaged Nazi operations.

Here are their stories:

10 Helmuth Hubener

In 1939, the Nazis passed a law banning all foreign radio broadcasts, even threatening people with execution for listening to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other Allied broadcasts.

In 1941, 16-year-old Helmuth Hubener (center above) began secretly listening to the BBC. As he listened to British war reports and compared them with German reports, he discovered that he had been deceived. The BBC reported victories and defeats on both sides of the war. The German news only reported German victories.

He held a secret after-hours meeting with his two best friends, Karl-Hinz Schnibbe (right above) and Rudolf Wobbe (left above). All three were fascinated by the broadcast. Helmut located a typewriter, carbon copy paper, and a swastika stamp. He wrote essays including “Hitler the Murderer” and “Do You Know That They are Lying to You?”[1]

Hubener enlisted his two friends to distribute the flyers. They placed them in apartment buildings, mailboxes, and telephone booths. As a result, the Gestapo arrested all three. They were found guilty of high treason, and Hubener was beheaded on October 27, 1942, aged only 17.

9 Hans And Sophie Scholl (The White Rose)

As a young lad, Hans Scholl eagerly embraced the Hitler Youth. He became a squad leader of 155 boys. He formed an elite squad to train future leaders for the Fatherland. Eventually, however, he became disenchanted.

In 1942, Hans and a few of his med school classmates started the White Rose. Dismayed by all the surrounding propaganda, they wanted to challenge people with the truth. They printed thousands of leaflets on a hand-crafted duplicating machine, stuffed them into stamped envelopes, and addressed them with random numbers from the phone book. Sophie Scholl, Hans’s sister, soon joined the White Rose. Sophie believed that Hitler was trying to destroy Christianity and replace it with Nazism.

When Hans and his friends received orders to spend their semester as medics on the Russian Front, the White Rose temporarily stopped production. Being on the front lines gave these students an even greater desire to wake up the German people. They had seen horrendous conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto. They knew the German army was losing the war, even as German papers boasted of victory. When they returned to school, they stepped up their operation with renewed zeal.

On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie arrived early in the morning to distribute White Rose pamphlets in the classroom buildings at Munich University. Eager to share all the leaflets, they climbed to an atrium above the building and tossed the remaining pamphlets to the floor just as students entered the building.

They were spotted, however, and a Nazi officer arrested them. After a four-day trial, Hans and Sophie were beheaded by the Gestapo. Sophie’s final words summed up her mission: “But what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”[2]

8 Knud Pedersen And The Churchill Club

Knud Pedersen, 14 years old, was outraged when the Germans invaded Denmark in 1940. In less than one day, Denmark surrendered to the Nazis. In 1941, Knud (upper right above) and seven classmates at Aalborg Cathedral School formed the Churchill Club, named after one of their heroes, Winston Churchill.

They began their war with blue paint in broad daylight. They poured paint on German roadsters that lined the streets and splashed paint on German barracks and Nazi headquarters. They turned newly placed German road signs in the opposite direction or sometimes destroyed them. They told their parents they were playing bridge.

All club members pledged to create acts of sabotage. They stole weapons from the Germans and used them to make explosives. They stored the weapons in the Cathedral School. When the Gestapo uncovered the weapons at the school, all eight members of the Churchill Gang were arrested and sent to Nyborg State Prison.[3]

In 1942 and 1943, most of Denmark’s resistance came from the Churchill Club. By 1944, Denmark became known for its underground. Smuggled guns were buried in people’s gardens. Underground newspapers revealed the truth about the war, and massive labor strikes challenged German authority.

7 Irene Gut

Irene Gut (later Opdyke) became the live-in housekeeper for Major Eduard Rugemer, a prominent Nazi. Already involved the Polish resistance, she soon began sheltering 12 Jews in the former servants’ quarters located in the basement of the house.

All went well for eight months, until Major Rugemer found three Jews in his kitchen. After getting over the initial shock, he offered Irene a deal: The Jews could stay if she would be his mistress. Irene, though shocked and humiliated, agreed.

Irene confessed the arrangement to a country priest. Years later, she would remember his judgement: “I was expecting him to say ‘Well, you had no choice, a human life is more important’ but instead he told me that I had to turn everyone out, that my mortal soul is more important than anything else. Well, I could not agree with this.”[4]

Irene Gut Opdyke spent the last 30 years of her life traveling the United States to tell her story to American schoolchildren.

6 Stefania Podgorska

At age 14, Stefania Podgorska was living with the Diamants, a Jewish family in Poland. When the Diamants were forced into the ghetto, they begged Stefania to stay in their apartment. Stefania smuggled food into the ghetto. Eventually, Mrs. Diamant was sent to Auschwitz.

One night, several weeks later, Max Diamant (Mrs. Diamant’s son) knocked on Stefania’s door. He had jumped off a train bound for a concentration camp. Even though she knew she could face the death penalty, she began hiding him. His brother’s fiancee escaped the ghetto and also moved into the house. In a short time, 11 more Jews were living in the attic.

For the last eight months of the Occupation, Stefania was ordered to allow two German nurses and their boyfriends to live in her house. The Jews remained in the attic, quiet and motionless, until the war was over. They all survived.

After the war, Max Diamant, her first tenant, changed his name to Josef Burzminski and asked Stefania to marry him.[5] They moved to the United States.

5 Diet Eman

Diet Eman was planning her wedding when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. She watched the soldiers marching into the Jewish neighborhood. They broke windows and set synagogues on fire. Her friends received official deportation letters. They were expected to report to the railroad station with a single suitcase. She knew they would be sent to concentration camps.

She and her fiance joined the Dutch Resistance. They located hiding places for Jews and stole identification papers and ration cards from the Germans. They assisted downed pilots in Nazi territory. As Diet biked across Holland, she sent reports to the Allies of German troop movements.

In May 1944, Eman was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. After four months, she managed to convince the Gestapo that she was harmless and feeble-minded. When they released her, she returned to resistance work.[6]

4 Hortense Daman

Hortense Daman (later Clews) was only 14 when Germany occupied Belgium. She began her resistance work delivering La Libre Belgique (The Free Belgium), an underground newspaper. Soon, she was carrying critical messages across the country.

Hortense became an excellent courier, able to remain cool under pressure. It was difficult for German officers to take the beautiful blonde seriously. Since her mother owned a grocery store, delivering food became a convenient cover for her spy work.

Before long, she was also delivering explosives. One day, she was delivering grenades hidden under a load of eggs. When intercepted by a German officer, she offered him some eggs (a great delicacy during the war.) He snatched the eggs from her hand before waving her away.[7]

Hortense and her parents were betrayed and arrested. Hortense and her mother were sent to Ravensbruck, her father to Buchenwald. Hortense became the subject of horrific experiments while incarcerated. Miraculously, however, she and her parents all survived.

3 Fernande Keufgens

In 1942, Fernande Keufgens (later Davis) boarded a train headed to a German munitions factory in Poland, which she had been drafted to work at. She had been told that her father would go to prison if she did not get on the train. She and three others, however, jumped off the locomotive before it crossed the German border.[8]

After jumping from the train, Fernande walked for miles through the countryside to find her uncle Hubert, a devout priest working for the Army of Liberation, a Belgian resistance group. She begged him to let her join the resistance.

She delivered false identification papers and food stamps to help Jews escape Belgium. She was accosted many times by the Nazis. Because she spoke German, however, officers were more likely to trust her.

2 Swing Youth

On March 2, 1940, German police raided a dance party in Hamburg. They found teens dancing to forbidden swing music from Great Britain and the United States. The young people wiggled and gyrated. They formed circles with jumping and clapping. Girls were wore makeup and painted their nails.

The Swing Youth rejected the Nazi lifestyle. They clearly preferred British and American culture to German nationalism. They rejected wearing uniforms, marching, drilling, and regulated hairstyles. Even though most Swing Youth did not openly criticize the Nazis, the Third Reich considered them a threat to the Nazi philosophy.

Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordered all leaders of the Swing Youth to be sent to a concentration camp. A special youth camp was opened for them in Moringen in 1940. A camp for girls opened in 1942.[9]

1 Edelweiss Pirates

The Edelweiss Pirates began as a hiking group in the 1930s. They also rejected the strict rules and regimentation of the Nazi party. They dropped out of school to avoid the Hitler Youth programs and became skilled draft-dodgers. Many of these teens were raised in Communist families, and almost all grew up in poverty. Many had seen their parents arrested and even murdered for their political views.

The Edelweiss Pirates often fought street battles with the Hitler Youth. They were easy to spot with their long hair and brightly colored shirts. They wore the Edelweiss emblem on their collars or hats. “We wore our hair long, we had a knife in our sock and he would not march.” stated former Edelweiss Pirate Jean Julich.[10]

As the war progressed, they became more involved in resistance activities. They produced anti-Nazi graffiti and stole food and explosives to supply adult resistance groups. They found shelter for German army deserters. Jean Julich and his friends threw bricks through military factory windows and poured sugar into the gas tanks of Nazi vehicles. The Gestapo often rounded up gang members, shaved their heads, and then released them.

They also faced more serious consequences, however. The Gestapo arrested Julich and his friends for their alleged involvement in a plot to bomb the Cologne Gestapo headquarters. At 15, Julich was sent to a concentration camp, where he endured beatings, starvation, and typhus until the Americans liberated him in 1945. The Nazis executed Julich’s friend, Barthel Schink, along with seven adults and five other “pirates.”

Lou Hunley has enjoyed sharing books with children as a teacher and children’s librarian. She created Librarian Lou, a blog about children and young adult books. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys playing pickleball, biking, and zip lining.


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General Knowledge


We’re seeing an experiment in action. Over the past few years, more and more countries and states have been legalizing marijuana, and we’re finally getting to see what effect it really has.

There have been all kinds of predictions. The naysayers have been sure that legalizing pot will all but bring the world to its doom, with drug abuse and crime running rampant. And on the other side, pot advocates have all but suggested that it’ll usher in a new era of peace and prosperity, where mankind finally settles its differences over a toke.

Enough time has passed now, though, that we can pretty definitively say what really happened—and it’s not all what you might expect.

10 Car Crashes Go Up, But Fatalities Go Down

When you legalize weed, it seems, you replace a lot of your drunk drivers with high drivers. And that has some interesting side effects.

First off, legalizing marijuana definitely leads to more people smoking marijuana. In Colorado, adult marijuana use has gone up by 29 percent since it was legalized. But a lot of those people picking up joints are putting down beer bottles, especially before driving.

Drunk driving, in Washington state, has gone down nearly 33 percent since 2007. High driving has gone up about 50 percent—but its hard to get much meaning out of that, because marijuana stays in the bloodstream for weeks after the effects wear off.

What seems to be happening, though, is very slow, very careful car crashes. Statistically speaking, car accidents have gone up in places that have legalized pot, while car crash fatalities have gone down.[1] And while nobody knows for sure exactly what that means, it’s hard not to chalk that up to a lot of stoners very, very slowly bumping into each other.

9 The Police Clear More Crimes

Marijuana advocates were right: When you legalize marijuana, police really do get to focus on the real crimes.

In their first year of legal pot, marijuana possession charges fell by a staggering 98 percent in Washington state. And that’s a huge deal. Between 2000 and 2010, before weed was legalized, the state spent $200 million enforcing marijuana laws—meaning that legalizing pot essentially freed up $196 million worth of police resources.

And, yes, it has led to better policing. Both Colorado and Washington have seen faster crime clearance rates across the board since legalizing marijuana.[2]

It’s also better for citizens. An unexpected side effect of legalizing pot is that cops aren’t searching cars as often, simply because they can’t use “your car smells like weed” as an excuse to search them anymore. One Washington cop has said: “Probably 90 percent of my felony arrests, they started with the odor of marijuana.” Since legalization, though, he’s been letting those people off—which, in theory, should reduce racial profiling.

8 More Kids Go To The Hospital For Eating Pot Brownies

As soon as marijuana was legalized, hospitals started seeing kids pile into the emergency rooms, high out of their minds on pot brownies. It was epidemic—in a single year, the state of Colorado treated 87 children under the age of nine for ingesting cannabis, an increase of 450 percent since pot was legalized.

And that’s a good thing!

No, we’re not on some vendetta to get kids high—we just think there might be another way to interpret those numbers.

Most of these cases happen because a kid sneaks into the parent’s edibles and starts munching away at a pot brownie, not realizing that there’s more in it than just sugar. It’s possible that legalized marijuana is making that happen more often—but it’s a lot more likely that parents are just less afraid of taking their kids to the hospitals now that pot is legal.

In the past, parents have faced child endangerment charges and even lost their kids just because their child snuck a THC-laced cookie out of a forbidden cookie jar. It’s reasonable to assume that the main reason more kids are going to the hospital for this is that the parents are less afraid. Before, they were probably just dealing with it by waiting it out and hoping for the best.

One thing we know for sure is that is that underage marijuana use doesn’t go up at all where marijuana is legalized. In fact, in Washington state and Colorado, teenage pot use has gone down.[3]

7 Homelessness Seems To Increase

When Colorado legalized marijuana, locals started to complain about their new neighbors. Their homes, as one resident put it, had “suddenly became a haven for recreational pot users, drawing in transients, panhandlers, and a large number of homeless drug addicts.”[4]

There’s been a bit of controversy over whether or not that’s really true. Snopes.com has gone ahead and written it off as largely false, saying that Colorado’s homeless population was nearly cut in half between 2012 and 2013, when marijuana was legalized, apparently in some kind of inexplicable homeless mass exodus.

But if we can argue with Snopes, they’ve overlooked a major point. In 2013, Colorado changed the way it counts its homeless population, and the state itself credits the new system for the sudden, major drop in their homeless count. The drop isn’t a mass exodus—the numbers, before, were just wrong.

Other than that weird blip, which really has nothing to do with legal weed, homelessness steadily increased in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, California, and Alaska after legalizing pot—suggesting that, yes, the locals are right. Pot-loving transients really do migrate to places that let them smoke legally.

6 Tourists Come Just For The Marijuana

In 2015, Colorado made a record $2.6 billion off of tourism. People started flooding out to Colorado in unprecedented numbers.

The state of Colorado insists it was because of a top-notch tourism campaign—but the facts kind of suggest that people weren’t coming to see the Rockies. That year, a survey of people vacationing in Colorado found that 49 percent of them were there for weed.[5]

Strangely enough, most of them ended up chickening out and not actually buying any: Only eight percent of Colorado’s tourists actually visited a marijuana dispensary. Still, nearly half of them said that legalized pot was at least part of the reason they decided to spend their vacation time high among the mountains.

In Amsterdam, where they’re a bit more honest about these things, the tourism board estimates that 1.5 million tourists drop by every year purely because of legalized pot—which is an awful lot of money to flush into an economy.

5 Tourists Smoke Themselves Into The Hospitals

Those tourists who do partake, though, have a bad habit of going a bit overboard. Since Colorado legalized marijuana, their hospitals have had to deal with twice as many people from out-of-state showing up in the ER, so high that they’re freaked themselves out.

It happens more often than you’d think. In 2014, 1.68 percent of Colorado’s out-of-state hospital patients specifically told the doctors they were there because of marijuana.[6] They’d smoked themselves silly, and they either hurt themselves or broke into such horrible anxiety attacks that they ended up begging their friends to call a doctor.

The funny thing is that the locals don’t do it. There has been no change whatsoever in the number of in-state patients complaining about marijuana. It’s just the tourists who binge-smoke themselves into the ER, apparently convinced that if they’re going to get a chance to legally get high, they need to get higher than anyone has ever been.

4 Dogs Start Getting Stoned

It’s not just people who have been getting high. When marijuana gets legalized, dogs start getting high, too.

According to the Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, marijuana poisoning in dogs in Colorado has quadrupled since pot was legalized. One veterinarian claims that her hospital treats an average of five stoned-out-of-their-mind dogs every week.

It’s not that people are sticking joints in their dogs’ mouths—or, at least, that usually isn’t what happens. Typically, the dogs get into owners’ edibles and chomp away on them. They end tired, staggering, and sensitive to light. In extreme cases, they’ll even up throwing up and passing out.

The dogs are usually fine within 24 hours, but some have actually died after eating edibles. Those deaths were probably brought on by the chocolate instead of the marijuana, though, as the chocolate in a brownie is far worse for dogs than the weed.[7]

3 Opioid Use Goes Down

No matter how you feel about marijuana, it’d be hard to say that it’s as bad as opioids. Opioids kill—in fact, they kill 42,000 Americans every year.

Legalizing marijuana, though, seems to be a pretty effective way to bring those numbers down. According to one study, opioid prescriptions go down by an average of 14 percent whenever medical marijuana is legalized.

Partly, that’s because it gives people an alternative. When marijuana is illegal, patients don’t have many other choices for dealing with pain except for taking opioids, which can be very addictive and very dangerous. But the other part is that marijuana is just plain cheaper. On average, marijuana costs patients about 60 percent as much as opioids like hydrocodone.

And, yes, it saves lives. Legalizing medical marijuana, on average, has reduced deaths from opioid overdoses by 25 percent.[8]

2 Crime Rates Plummet

Reefer madness has yet to set in anywhere that marijuana has been legalized. Crime, in Washington state, is the lowest it’s been in 40 years, while Colorado has seen a 2.4-percent drop in violent crime since legalization.

But that’s nothing compared to the states further south. In the states bordering Mexico, where marijuana trade is usually controlled by drug cartels, crime rates have absolutely plummeted where marijuana has been legalized. In California, legalizing pot for medical use alone lowered violent crime by 15 percent, robberies by 19 percent, and murders by ten percent.[9]

And, yes, that’s because the cartel is out of town. Drug-related homicides went down by 41 percent—nearly being cut in half—since medical marijuana was legalized in California.

Weed, it seems, doesn’t really turn people into criminals. If anything, legalizing weed is making the drug cartels hemorrhage money—and might even get rid of some of them.

1 Public Schools Get Better

In 2015, Colorado brought in an extra $135 million in tax revenue through cannabis alone.

That’s a lot of money—and most of it has gone into helping Colorado’s schools. When marijuana was legalized, Colorado ruled that most of the new money would go into schools, and they’ve kept that promise. During the 2015–2016 school year, marijuana taxes contributed $80 million toward school construction projects. In 2017, schools in Deer Trail, Colorado, were given $34 million to build a new campus and specifically credited the money to marijuana taxes, which means that the kids there got a brand-new facility because of weed.

According to a Harvard researcher, if the entire United States legalized marijuana (and other drugs) and then taxed and regulated their sale, it would raise an extra $106.7 billion per year.[10] That figure comes from the theory that the nation would earn $58.8 billion in tax revenues and save the $47.9 billion they spend on drug prohibition each year.

That would be enough money to make every college in the US free—and there’d still be money left over to spread around.

Mark Oliver

Mark Oliver is a regular contributor to Listverse. His writing also appears on a number of other sites, including The Onion’s StarWipe and Cracked.com. His website is regularly updated with everything he writes.

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In today’s world, there is a lot of controversy surrounding firearms. Thousands of people lose their lives every year as a result of gunshots, so it is no wonder people are against guns. There are many advocates of guns for a variety of reasons, as well.

This list is not meant to discuss the differents sides of the gun arguments but instead to discuss the history of firearms and provide information about them. Guns are very prevalent, especially in the US, and it is important to learn about them because they, and articles about them, are all around most of us every day. Here is a list of ten things that you may not have known about firearms.

10 History Of Firearms

Many of us know that guns have changed a lot throughout the centuries, but the amount that they have changed, and how long they have been around, is crazy. Some of the earliest records of firearm use date to the 13th and 14th centuries. By the 1400s, matchlock guns appeared. This is an important development, because beforehand, guns were not at all easy to use.

Before the advent of the matchlock gun, a person would need both hands and often a stand to set their firearm on. One of their hands would be used to fire, and the other had an even more important job. For the firearm to work, its user would have to bring a burning wick to the touch hole of the gun to ignite the powder inside. Matchlock guns, on the other hand, allowed people to keep both hands on the gun while firing, a great help for aiming.[1]

9 Gun Owners Giving Back

When we think of gun owners, we may not think of them giving back to their community. In fact, gun owners contribute a lot when they buy guns and ammo. Since 1937, US gun owners have been responsible for giving over $4 billion to wildlife conservation.[2] That money has gone to saving wildlife and preserving forests and other habitats.

So, why has so much money been contributed to wildlife conservation from gun owners? In the United States, there is a ten- or 11-percent tax on all guns and ammo. So whenever someone buys a firearm or bullets in the United States, tax dollars go toward preserving wildlife.

8 Russians And Guns

There are a number of strange stories out there about guns and people using them, some of which involve Russians. The Russians actually took guns into space with them. Now, there are probably a lot of ideas circulating about why they might have done this, but it was in case they landed off course. These guns, called TP-82s, were carried between 1986 and 2007 and were meant to allow cosmonauts to defend themselves against bears.[3] It is funny to think about how much they were risking to go up into space, and one of their biggest threats was apparently still bears.

Another interesting story involves the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union designed a Gatling-style autocannon, the GSh-6-30, that was meant to be mounted to planes. Unfortunately, the vibration of the gun would caused damage to the plane. Three had to crash-land due to jamming of their landing gear doors brought on by the GSh-6-30. It caused fewer problems when used as an air defense weapon.

7 Revolver Camera

Throughout the years, there have been many modifications made to guns. In 1938, there was a very interesting innovation in the form of the revolver camera. It was just what it sounds like: a revolver, (a Colt .38 special) with a camera attached. Whenever the owner would pull the trigger of the gun, the camera would take a picture.

As some of us might be imagining, this had the potential to be gruesome and terrifying. The good news is that even if the gun wasn’t loaded, the camera could still take pictures, which could turn out pretty cool, but the result wouldn’t be that different from using a normal camera. It is really crazy and interesting how people can come up with such strange modifications to firearms, but the revolver camera has to be one of the craziest, although it never saw widespread use.[4]

6 Picasso

Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous and renowned artists of all time. Less well-known is something that he used to do for fun. Picasso owned a revolver and would load it with blanks. It once belonged to Alfred Jarry, a writer from whom Picasso took inspiration. If a fan asked Picasso what his paintings meant, questioned him about his theories on aesthetics, or insulted the memory of Paul Cezanne, he would reportedly “shoot” them.[5]

Now, obviously, the gun was filled with blanks, but it must have been terrifying to be the person Picasso was shooting at. In today’s society, this type of thing would never be allowed, but it is a comical yet creepy fact about Picasso.

5 Weird Laws

We all know that there are many weird laws throughout the world. Gun laws are no exception. The first strange law that we are going to look at comes from Arizona. In Arizona, it is legal for someone to carry around a handgun but you can’t possess nunchucks (aka nunchaku). How strange is that? A gun is so much more dangerous than nunchucks.

Another strange gun law comes from Kennesaw, Georgia. The law states that every household head in the city must own a gun. There are a number of exemptions from the rule, though, such as being unable to use or afford a gun or objecting due to religious or conscientious reasons. Obviously, people who are legally barred from owning guns are exempt.[6]

4 The Largest Gun

We know firearms come in all shapes and sizes. There are guns small enough to fit in our pockets and so big they’re mounted on battleships. There is only one gun, though, that takes the title for the biggest, specifically “the largest caliber rifled weapon to see combat in the history of artillery.”[7] It was called the Schwerer Gustav, and it was built by the Nazis for use during World War II. This massive artillery piece was moved and fired from railroads and weighed 1,350 tons.

The Gustav might look impractical, but it was actually pretty functional. In fact, this gun could hit a target 39 kilometers (24 mi) away. Bigger may not always be better, but in this case, the Schwerer Gustav is pretty impressive.

3 Key Guns

So far on our list, we have looked at some pretty out-there firearms, but this next gun is unbelievable. In the 1850s, jail guards carried around a very special type of firearm that looked like a key. These key guns actually worked and were used to lock the cells in the jail.[8] These guns only had one round in them, but in a life-or-death situation, that one round might come in handy.

Obviously, the guards had other weapons on them, but they had these key guns, too, just in case. Key guns were eventually discontinued because there were a lot more useful and practical weapons out there for guards to use, but they remain some of the most unique and cool-looking firearms to ever have been invented.

2 Presidents And Guns

We all know that US presidents have not only owned guns but have died by them. James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, was assassinated with a gun. His killer did something very strange when choosing the firearm to assassinate the president with: He purchased a gun that he thought would look good in a museum. The firearm did actually end up in a museum.

The next presidential gun story does not have such a sad ending, and it involves President Andrew Jackson. President Jackson was nearly assassinated by a man who brought two pistols to kill him. Luck must have been on Jackson’s side that day, however. When his would-be assassin, Richard Lawrence, tried to use his pistol, it misfired. Jackson, furious, proceeded to beat the failed assassin with his cane. Lawrence managed to pull his second pistol, but it also wouldn’t fire.[9] Jackson’s aides then wrestled him away.

1 Zombie-Killing Guns

To end our list, we are going to look at a comical set of guns created in 2012. Gun company Mossberg created a line of firearms specifically to kill zombies.[10] That’s right: zombies. Now, there may not be zombies around at the moment, but we don’t know what the future holds.

Granted, there’s not much of a difference between these guns and other firearms. They look more unique and have a special “ZMB” stamp on them, but some of the changes made versus Mossberg’s more standard offerings were even described as impractical. Whether this line of guns will actually be used one day to fight zombies or not, they are pretty cool to look at.

I am a teacher who likes to write in their free time.


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