Legends: Pied Piper Originally Led Children Away Not Rats

The original story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is a legend about the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin, Germany, in the Middle Ages (1284). The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in pied (multicolored) clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In […]


Syndromes: Foreign Accent Synrome

  Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is speech disorder that causes a sudden change to speech so that a person speaks with a “foreign” accent.  The condition is usually occurs after damage to the brain caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Other reported causes include multiple sclerosis and conversion disorder. In some cases no […]


Myths: Quicksand is a Killer

We’ve all seen the movie where the character gets stuck in quicksand and slowly sinks to the bottom resulting in his untimely death or last minute rescue. In reality, quicksand is denser than water.  The greater the density, the greater the buoyancy of objects within. Any victims found in quicksand likely died for some other […]


The Fax Machine was Invented Before the Telephone

Scottish inventor Alexander Bain worked on chemical mechanical facsimile type devices and in 1846 was able to reproduce graphic signs in laboratory experiments. Frederick Bakewell made several improvements on Bain's design and demonstrated the telefax machine. The Pantelegraph, was invented by the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli. He introduced the first commercial telefax service between Paris […]


George Foreman’s Georges

Talk about Ego (or bad memory) – former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion George Foreman has five sons – each is named George: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. His four younger sons are distinguished from one another by the nicknames “Monk”, “Big Wheel”, “Red”, and “Little Joey”.  He has two […]

Anthropodermic Book Binding

Anthropodermic Book Binding

Anthropodermic bibliopegy (book binding)  is the practice of binding books in human skin.  The first examples of anthropodermic bindings come from the 17th century, but the practice really seems to have increased during the French Revolution. The skin of victims were sometimes used to bind books by its proponents.  Included in this period is a […]



Dancing Mania: Dancing Plague

Dancing mania (aka dancing plague, choreomania, St John’s Dance and historically St. Vitus’ Dance) was a phenomenon that occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. Groups of people, sometimes thousands at a time danced uncontrollably and bizarrely. They would also scream, shout, and sing, and claim to have visions or hallucinations. […]


Origin of the Louvre

The Louvre was originally constructed as the fortress of Philippe Auguste in 1190. Charles V oversaw the first modernisation process  in the 1300s which resulted in what was to be the beginnings of one of the largest palace complexes in the world. Located on the right bank of the Seine River in Paris, the Louvre […]


Superstitions: Black Cats

Superstitions and stories around black cats vary from culture to culture. In Great Britain, Ireland, and Japan, black cats are actually a symbol of good luck. The Scottish believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity.    In Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of […]