16 Facts That You Might Have To Read Twice

We deal in facts around here, and the coolest thing about them (if you ask me) is how you can literally always find ones that are new to you just by poking around a few rabbit holes.

If you’re always up for learning something new, we think at least a few of these 16 facts just might deliver!

16. The famous origins of “Jack and Jill.”

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Some people have claimed the nursery rhyme is about the ill-fates of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, but as it dates back to about 30 years prior to their disgrace and execution, it seems unlikely.

Most believe it was actually written about Charles I, the King of England in the 17th century who attempted to increase the tax on alcohol – which was at the time measured in jacks and gills.

His attempts failed and so he shrunk the sizes of “jacks and gills” instead, leading to the price of alcohol to “come tumbling after.”

15. Vatican City has the world’s highest crime rate.

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There are only 1,000 residents in Vatican City, but the crime rate is around 1.5 crimes per citizen. Most are people pickpocketing tourists, but there is no prison there and only one judge, so most are shuttled into Italy proper for sentencing.

They issued their first drug charge in 2007, after a man was caught with cocaine in his desk at work.

14. The flop that was Burger King’s “black bun” experiment.

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In 2015, someone at Burger King had the bright idea of offering black buns for Halloween.

The only problem was that people started calling in after eating them and freaking out over their bright green poop.

Dr. Ian Lustbader, a gastroenterologist, put it down to food coloring that wasn’t absorbed during the digestion process.

13. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a movie before it was a hit TV show.

Melissa Joan Hart, who plays the lead character of Sabrina in the show, said her mother was instrumental in bringing the original comic book stories to the small screen.

“My mom doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her job as the woman spearheading the show. She is the one who was handed the Archie Comics book on a playground at my sister’s school in Manhattan and sold it to Viacom as a Showtime movie.”

12. “Monster Mash” was an elaborate joke.

It might be a Halloween classic now, but it began with Bobby Pickett – a member of the doo-wop group the Cordials – did an impromptu impersonation of Boris Karloff in the spoken portion of “Little Darlin’.”

The audience loved it, so Pickett and his bandmate Lenny Capizzi decided to turn it into a full-length song.

Pickett was wary, as he wanted to be seen as a potentially “serious actor,” but gave in and they ended up writing the song in about an hour.

They used household items to make the spooky sound effects, and when “Monster Mash” released in 1962, it was a huge hit – at least in America.

The BBC refused to play the song in England on the grounds that it was “too morbid.”

11. There is a shark so old it’s known as the “living fossil.”

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Goblin sharks are thought to have evolved very little in the 70 or so million years they’ve been around.

Known as a “living fossil,” they use their long snouts, which are covered in special sensing organs, to sense electric fields in the ocean. They can also extend the snout to help them ambush and kill their prey.

10. How Spirit Halloween got its start.

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In 1983, the owner of a store called Spirit Women’s Discount Apparel noticed how many people needed costumes around Halloween, and decided to turn his Spirit store into a seasonal pop-up that sold costumes and decorations.

Spencer’s Gifts acquired Spirit in 1999, and even though the store is only open from late August until early November, accounts for half the company’s annual earnings.

9. There is a real case behind the “check your Halloween candy” warnings.

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Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Denver, has spend years studying allegations of strangers poisoning Halloween candy. He told the Smithsonian that in over 30 years of research, he has never found a single instance of a stranger poisoning and intentionally distributing candy to children.

That said, at least one child did die after eating Halloween candy laced with cyanide.

In the 1970s, Ronald Clark O’Bryan took out a $40,000 life insurance policy on his son Timothy and daughter Elizabeth. He was deeply in debt and desperate to get out of financial trouble.

On Halloween, O’Bryan laced some Pixy Stix with cyanide and gave his son one, then decided to give some to trick-or-treaters as well to try to throw police off his trail.

He distributed six of the laced Pixy Stix, including a second one to his daughter, but only Timothy ate his and subsequently died as a result.

O’Bryan was executed in 1984.

8. Stephen King gives back to budding filmmakers.

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In 1982, Stephen King created the Dollar Baby program. It allows budding filmmakers to purchase the rights to one of King’s short stories for just $1.

The catch is that the films cannot be commercially distributed and that King must get a copy of the finished product.

“I have made the dollar deal, as I call it, over my accountant’s moans and head-clutching protests 16 or 17 times as of this writing.”

One of the most prominent recipients of the “dollar deal” was Frank Darabont, who went on to direct feature King adaptations The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

He bought the rights to a short story “The Woman in the Room” and King loved the resulting short film so much he later changed the rules and allowed it to be distributed commercially.

7. How much is the royal family actually worth?

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There’s much speculation around this question, but we know it’s a lot.

Queen Elizabeth’s famous stamp collection alone is estimated 100 million euro, and contains stamps from both England and her Commonwealth countries.

6. A witch is still the most popular Halloween costume.

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According to Google search trends, a “witch” is the most popular costume in all 50 states.

Other popular costumes are Spider-Man, dinosaurs, fairies, and other pop-culture options like Harley Quinn and characters from Stranger Things.

5. Scream is loosely based on a true story.

Kevin Williamson, who wrote the script, was inspired by a 1994 episode of Turning Point. The show discussed the Danny Rolling case.

Also known as the Gainesville Ripper, Rolling murdered five college students near the University of Florida in 1990.

A few days after what would be the final murder, the police arrested Edward Lewis Humphrey, an 18-year-old student who had recently been arrested for attacking his grandmother and reportedly had a crush on one of the victims.

The murders stopped after his arrest, leading police to believe they had gotten the right guy, but in early 1991, Rolling came on their radar.

He had been arrested several times and was currently on the run from an attempted murder charge. Once caught, the learned that not only was Rolling suspected of murdering several people in 1989, but that the circumstances of those crimes closely aligned with the ones in Gainesville.

Rolling was given three life sentences for armed robbery and eventually sentenced to death after being found guilty of the terror in Gainesville.

Williamson said the story made it hard for him to sleep as he anxiously checked out his window, expecting to see a madman there with a knife – and those feelings became fodder as he penned Scream.

4. Richard Nixon played college football.

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He rarely played for Whittier College, but he was on the team – but he attempted later to use his knowledge and love of the game to his political advantage.

It was reported that he went to football games so that his constituents would find him relatable and used the media and his influence to make sure “pro-administration propaganda” was shown at games following the dwindling of the war in Vietnam.

3. The Galapagos Islands are home to vampire birds.

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Wolf Island, which is on the northwest corner of the Galapagos Islands, hosts vampire finches.

They drink blood to make up for a lack of water on the island and use their shark beaks to attack other birds, typically the Nazca booby.

They usually pull out feathers and drink the blood that wells up into the resulting wound.

2. There’s a volcano on Mars – and it’s huge.

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It’s called Olympus Mons, and at 16 miles tall and 374 miles wide, is believed to be the biggest volcano in the entire solar system.

It’s basically the size of Arizona, and dwarfs Mauna Loa, the largest volcano on earth. That one rises just 6.3 miles above sea level.

1. These conjoined twins were born into slavery.

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Millie and Christine McKoy were born to a slave woman named Monemia in 1851. They were conjoined at their lower spine, and by the time they were two, were starring in “freak shows” all over North America.

The girls were sold several times and eventually found themselves in England, and they performed all over Europe.

Their mother’s “owner” asserted that he actually had claim over the girls still and brought them back to North Carolina when they were 6. The girls said they wished to continue performing (according to him) and soon became known as the Carolina Nightengale.

They toured Europe again in the 1870s, learning German, French, Italian, and Spanish, and their performances were raking in $25k apiece.

Later in life they purchased the plantation where they had been born, developed a school for Black children, and supported higher education before they died in 1912.

Did you learn something new?

Tell us in the comments which ones got you thinking!