Doctors used to prescribe ‘Obecalp,’ a sugar pill that is literally ‘placebo’ spelled backwards, for various illnesses such as psychosomatic disorders and chronic ailments.
Natives in Canada had a traditional gift giving holiday nearly identical to Christmas called Potlatch until it was outlawed for being unchristian, hundreds of natives were sent to prison for continuing to celebrate it from 1921 until the law was finally repealed in the 1950s.
Unlike his famous father, Thomas Edison Jr. was a terrible inventor. Eventually, he resorted to selling snake oil like the “Edison Magno-Electric Vitalizer”, embarrassing his father so much that he was given an allowance of 900 dollars a week to stop marketing his own “inventions”.
Because of a typographical error, a “wicked bible” stated that “thou shalt commit adultery.” Published in 1631, this Bible is also known as an “adulterous Bible” or the “sinners’ Bible.” Only several hundred copies remain and they’re worth $100,000 to collectors.
Many Christmas traditions come from the Roman holiday Saturnalia. During Saturnalia, work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed, and the normal social patterns were suspended.
People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery, and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia, but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases, they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them.
Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts. Wax taper candles called cerei were common gifts during Saturnalia, to signify light returning after the solstice.
Hat-makers in the 19th century regularly used mercury in the manufacturing of felt hats, which caused a high rate of poisoning and led to neurological damage like slurred speech, memory loss, and tremors. This was the inspiration for the Mad Hatter character in Alice in Wonderland.
German discount supermarket Lidl has failed to succeed in Norway, although being successful in other places. They left in 2008 after 4 years. Reasons stated for the failure are Norwegians not liking the foreign food, treatment of workers in other countries and money going out of the country.
Italy once tried to ban pasta because they believed that it weighed Italians down and prevented them from achieving any kind of greatness.
Marlon Brandon was in the Civil Rights movement throughout his career, and later advocated for the rights of indigenous Americans. His outspoken activism, in the midst of the harshly segregated ’60s, earned him a reserved place near the podium of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream”.
Legendary Hollywood director Martin Scorsese, best known for his violent gangster films, has used the same female editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, on every movie he’s made since Raging Bull in 1980.