In a very early draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones carried brass knuckles instead of a bullwhip.
– Indiana Jones Official Site
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Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower, enjoyed a successful career as an architect despite having dyslexia and a paralyzing fear of heights.
– Eiffel Tower official site
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First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was so convinced the White House was haunted that she kept a vial of holy water on her nightstand.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
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On Christmas Day, 1968, a scheduling mixup left Checkpoint Charlie unmanned for 12 hours.
– Checkpoint Charlie Museum
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The site where the Parthenon was built had to be cleared of hundreds of dinosaur bones (then called giants’ bones) before construction could begin.
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The Red Baron wasn’t particularly patriotic – he just wanted to fly. He applied to both the German Army Air Service and the British Royal Air Force.
– NOVA: Who killed the Red Baron?
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The practice of shrinking heads, strongly associated with primitive tribes of South America, was also a common custom among the Knights Templar.
– Shrunken Head Museum
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Princess Diana had her navel pierced – and fitted with a 2.8-carat diamond stud – just a few hours before her fatal accident.
– TIME: 100 Heroes
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Archimedes endured a tragic fate at the hands of drunken Roman soldiers. After forcing him to cut off and eat his own nose, they boiled him in oil.
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The striped mittenfish, a deepwater species recently discovered in the Java Sea, can change its sex at will by turning its entire body inside out.
– Hermaphroditic Fish
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Counterculture icon Timothy Leary was afraid of barbers. He learned to cut his own hair at the age of nine, and never again visited a barbershop.
– Official site of Timothy Leary
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The lion used in the original MGM movie logo killed its trainer and two assistants the day after the logo was filmed.
– MGM official site
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In 2004, a lab at a university in Texas received a $6 million federal grant to breed radioactive armadillos for possible use in warfare.
– Texas Parks and Wildlife
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In 1903, a stone phallus weighing 2.2 tons was unearthed in rural Ohio.
– Archaeological Institute of America
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Sesame seeds were so prized during the Middle Ages that in some parts of the world they were worth their weight in gold.
– Ancient Trade Routes
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The face of Uncle Sam, the fictional personification of the United States, was modeled after a door-to-door salesman from Canada.