According to Greek legend, the Milky Way (which back then was known as Galaxias) was created by the baby Heracles. Zeus placed the baby at Hera's breast to be fed. When Hera awoke, she was surprised to see a strange baby at her breast (makes sense) and pushed him away. The milk that spurted out then formed — you guessed it, the Milky Way.
For several hundred years, people routinely ate desiccated human remains. This was going on all the way up through the 16th and 17th centuries. Supposedly, people of the time thought that there were health benefits to chowing down on mummies. People would even steal mummies from Egyptian tombs, grind them down, and sell the powder to people looking for a fix.
The modern vibrator can actually trace its roots to the medical scene. Up until well within the 20th century, women were often diagnosed with "hysteria" — a sort of catch-all term that basically amounted to "women be crazy."
The best treatment for hysteria, as it turned out, was pelvic massage. But doctors soon became tired of massaging their female patients...and thus the vibrator was invented.
38. But The First Vibrator May Go Back Even Further
Back in the 1960s, the CIA had the brilliant idea of wiring cats (while they were still alive) and using them to spy on the enemy. This entailed implanting a microphone and transmitter into the cat's body.
Researchers have also discovered what they believe to be the oldest recorded joke. It's a Sumerian saying that dates back to 1900 BC. Curious about what those ancient Sumerians were laughing about? Here's the text of the joke (translated into English, of course):
"Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."
As Lewis and Clark bravely struck out on their expedition, they weren't solely focused on discovering the western frontier. They were also pretty busy getting down if you know what I mean.
They had a lot of sex with many Native American women. Unfortunately, this meant they also had a lot of venereal diseases (mostly syphilis). In fact, researchers have been able to pinpoint some of Lewis and Clark's campsites by following the trail of mercury they left in their latrines (mercury being a popular treatment for syphilis at the time).
Mere months before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, his son Robert nearly died in a freak train station accident.
Robert fell between a train and the station platform and would surely have perished if it hadn't been for the quick thinking of another passenger. That passenger was Edwin Booth: a famous actor of the time whose brother John Wilkes would go on to kill Robert's father.
19. As For The Guy Who Killed John Wilkes Booth...
Boston Corbett was a hatter intermittently throughout his life. As such, he was exposed to mercury nitrate, which can lead to hallucinations and psychosis (that's also where the phrase "mad as a hatter" comes from). Perhaps as a result of his exposure to mercury, Corbett felt led to castrate himself with a pair of scissors. He then sat down for dinner before finally deciding to seek medical treatment.
But hey, he also killed Lincoln's assassin and was lauded as a hero.
At one point during Einstein's marriage to his first wife (Mileva Maric), their relationship got rocky. Einstein, therefore, decided to come up with a list of rules that Maric had to follow in order for their marriage to continue. Here are a few of the rules:
1. You will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way; 2. You will stop talking to me if I request it; 3. You will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
Tesla was a genius...who also happened to be in love with pigeons. He was very fond of one pigeon in particular. He wrote about her: "I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”
12. On The Other Hand, Edison Wasn't A Huge Fan Of Animals
According to legend, Henry Ford — a close friend of Thomas Edison — asked Edison's son to capture the inventor's final breath in a test tube. He did so, and the test tube is now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Mother Teresa may officially be a saint, but her practices were anything but altruistic. She believed that suffering brought people closer to God, and therefore withheld pain medication from the people who came to her medical centers.
When her own health started declining, she decided to seek treatment in an actual hospital.
In addition to being really smart about triangles, Pythagoras had some very strict rules about beans. He developed a sort of cult following and forbade his adherents from eating meat. They were also not allowed to eat beans — or even touch them.
In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed after being convicted of committing espionage for the Soviet Union.
However, Ethel may, in fact, have been innocent. In 2001, David Greenglass — Ethel's brother and the key witness for the prosecution — admitted to having given false testimony during the trial. He also admitted that it was his own wife who had participated in the espionage. He stated, "I would not sacrifice my wife and my children for my sister."
To this day, the Rosenbergs' children are campaigning for their mother to be officially exonerated.
In Biology class, you probably learned that Watson and Crick discovered the double-helix shape of DNA.
In actuality, the only thing Watson and Crick "discovered" were the notes of their colleague Rosalind Franklin who had independently figured out the structure of DNA. And wouldn't you know it? They "forgot" to credit Franklin in their own paper.
2. Maybe That's Why They Named A Ninja Turtle After Him...