Since the advent of the internet, it’s become increasingly difficult for a famous person to keep anything private. On the other side of the spectrum, you might think there’s nothing new you can learn about the people on the big (or small) screen, in the (virtual) magazines, or the history books.
You may be right, but these 7 lesser-known facts also might surprise you. There’s only one way to find out!
#7. Benedict Arnold’s failed invasion of Canada could have led to his later desertion of America.
Though the 1775 attempt to invade Canada began with a brilliant plan, Arnold failed to consider the weather. A hurricane, poorly constructed vessels, and a later blizzard all led to the destruction of his force and a bullet wound in his leg that nearly took Arnold’s life.
Arnold was ordered back home and never again considered for a promotion.
#6. Einstein briefly went missing.
Albert Einstein was many things – and one of those things was a German Jew. In 1922, a close friend of his was assassinated by a right-wing group because of his religion, and the act shook Einstein badly enough it forced him into hiding.
Until a recent letter was unearthed, written, it is believed, from the north German city of Kiel, no one knew where he had gone during this period or why.
Einstein expressed fears over the rise of nationalism in Germany ten years before the Nazi’s came to power. Even though he did return home for a spell, the scientist left Germany in 1933, living out the rest of his life in the States.
His letter was recently auctioned for nearly $40k.
#5. Leonardo da Vinci might have had an eye condition that contributed to his genius.
Strabismus, or crossed eyes, creates a 2-D worldview that may add an artistic edge to paintings and sketches. A 2018 study found compelling evidence that Leonardo da Vinci could have had it.
In all portraits and self-portraits of the master, one or both eyes seemed to look outward, suggesting he was born with the defect. Even more interestingly, self-portraits of both Rembrandt and Picasso suggests they might have had it as well!
#4. Otzi, the ancient mummy discovered in the Alps, would have died from a heart attack if he hadn’t been murdered.
It’s crazy to think we can know such a thing about a man who died over 5,000 years ago, but a full body scan of the mummy (discovered by hikers in 1991) revealed hardened plaques in 3 different locations around Otzi’s heart. One area revealed his carotid artery was clogged, which significantly elevated his chance of a stroke or a heart attack.
Researchers think he had a genetic tendency for fatty deposits that may have narrowed his veins, which means he wasn’t long for this world – even before someone murdered him.
#3. Mother Teresa underwent an exorcism.
In 2001, the archbishop of Calcutta announced that, just months before her death, Mother Teresa underwent an exorcism. It was performed after archbishop Henry D’Souza visited her in the hospital and found the soon-to-be saint restless and dazed. She even attempted to pull out her wires. As a close friend, he considered the behavior odd and decided to perform an exorcism to rid her of any evil spirits attacking her in her weakened state.
According to D’Souza, Mother Teresa consented.
#2. The mysterious distress calls from probably-not-Amelia Earhart.
Even though a series of distress calls came from a Pacific Island around the time Amelia Earhart’s plane disappeared, experts believe they’re nothing but hoaxes. The reason? The messages were sent at night, meaning the sender would have charged the plane’s batteries with the propellers during the day.
The problem with this is that the person sending the messages described the crash, and said she lowered the wheels when heading for a coral reef. A pilot as experienced as Earhart wouldn’t have done such a thing, because the coral would have torn the landing gear and lurched the plane forward which would’ve prevented the propeller from moving and charging the batteries.
The thinking hasn’t changed even with the recent discovery of remains believed to be Earhart’s.
#1. You have to sign a waiver and don a protective suit to view Marie Curie’s notebooks.
The “mother of modern physics” left behind many treasured notebooks, but, because of the radioactive nature of her discoveries, they’re housed in lead-lined containers. Her clothing, furniture, and even her body (buried in a lead-lined coffin) remain dangerously radioactive to this day…and will be for the next 1500 years.
I hope you learned at least a little something new today!