Random Fun Facts That Will Amaze You - Part 6

Let's find out about some amazing mind-blowing facts.

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When it comes to the internet, random facts are hardly few and far between, but how do you sort the trash from the good stuff? Thankfully you don’t have to, that’s my job. Coming up are some more trivia titbits that’ll amaze you and your friends!

It’s Illegal for Donkeys to Sleep in a Bathtub in Arizona

Laws are always made for a reason, but even the smartest brains might have trouble imagining why the state of Arizona prohibits donkeys from sleeping in bathtubs. After all, what could be criminal about a classic farmyard animal getting 40-winks?

The story goes that in 1924 a dam near the city of Kingman collapsed, causing a flash flood that floated a donkey in a bathtub a mile into the valley. It soon transpired that the donkey had climbed into a tub that was abandoned outside its owner's property and settled down for a nap before the unexpected turn of events caused it to become stranded.

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The townspeople went to such a great expense to rescue the donkey from the bathtub that they lobbied for a law to prevent such an exhausting event from ever happening again. From that point on it was decreed that, although they may stand and be bathed, a donkey must never, ever sleep in a bathtub. Presumably, the donkey had no say in the matter

Animals Went on Trial in Medieval Europe

In the fall of 1457, villagers in Savigny, France witnessed a sow accompanied by her six piglets attack and kill a 5-year-old boy. Once captured, the family of pigs was bought to trial, where they stood in front of a real judge to testify in a courthouse equipped with two prosecutors, eight witnesses, and even a defense attorney for the swine.

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Witnesses proved that the sow was guilty of killing the child, but the role of the piglets was a little more ambiguous. Eventually, the adult pig was sentenced to hanging by her hind feet from a “gallows tree” while the piglets were exonerated.

Believe it or not, this was common practice in Europe until the mid-18th century when law-breaking cows, dogs, goats, pigs, and horses were routinely subjected to the same legal proceedings as humans.

Although the animals on trial weren’t expected to speak for themselves, factors including their "personal circumstances" and whether the crime conflicted with their general good nature were considered. When pigs behaved badly in the courtroom by grunting loudly in the box, this could also count against them; which might seem irrational, but then again so is putting a pig on trial.

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Why Did Pirates Wear Eye Patches?

If you get invited to a pirate-themed fancy dress party, one of the first things you’d reach for would probably be a black eyepatch, but why did pirates wear them? Is it safe to assume most pirates lost an eye at some point thanks to all that sword fighting?

Sadly not, but it turns out this iconic fashion accessory actually had a pretty smart purpose instead. Keeping one eye covered throughout the day meant pirates could see better when they went below deck, which was constantly shrouded in darkness.

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It takes the average human eye around 25 minutes to fully adapt from bright sunlight to seeing in the dark, so if a fight moved swiftly from the deck to somewhere beneath it was important not to have impaired vision. To prepare one eye for such low-light conditions, pirates sacrificed 50% of their everyday vision, proving their commitment to piracy.

Salvador Dali Avoided Paying Tabs By Drawing On Checks

No matter how famous you are, you still have to pick up the bill at the end of a fancy meal. Unless you’re Salvador Dali, apparently. Allegedly, the infamous mustached surrealist had a particular penchant for fee-dodging and would often invite large groups of friends to high-end establishments knowing that he’d never need to fork out after the meal.

How did he do it? Dali would ask for the bill, write out the payment in full and then turn it over and scribble a quick sketch on the reverse. Before leaving the restaurant, Dali would then wager that the restaurateur would never attempt to cash a cheque bearing one of his valuable artworks, and he was usually right.

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If You Die Alone, Your Cat Will Eat You

Most people are afraid of becoming a stereotypical crazy cat lady, but the most terrifying thing about this prospect is that, if you pop your clogs alone, your cat won’t hesitate to eat you. At an American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference in New Orleans in 1992, a forensic pathologist explained that without their owners around to fill their bowls, pets have no trouble tucking into their owners' decaying bodies.

This phenomenon, known as post-mortem predation, causes domesticated animals to revert back to primal instincts, and food is food after all. There have been countless cases where bodies have been recovered long after their beloved pets have decided to have a cheeky nibble.

While dogs will generally wait about a week or so before giving in to their appetites, cats have been known to reach for the salt and pepper after just 48 hours, and they’ll usually go for the softer parts like your nose or lips first.

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Bees Can Live Inside Your Eyes

Some say fear of bees is irrational; after all, the world would come to a total standstill without them. But you might want to think twice before getting too up close and personal after this next terrifying story.

In April 2019, a 28-year-old Taiwanese woman was pulling weeds around a relative's grave as part of the Qing Ming tomb-sweeping festival when she felt what she thought was a piece of dirt get into her eye. After her eye quickly swelled up Ms. He visited the doctor, who spotted what looked like a tiny insect leg sticking out.

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Dr. Hong Chi Ting was shocked to pull a 4mm-long winged insect out of her eye, but that wasn’t all. This little stinger was shortly followed by three more bees, all of which were totally alive and kicking. This type of bee, called halictidae is smaller than your standard bumblebee and is sometimes known as sweat bees because they feast on human sweat or tears as a source of protein.

Dr. Ting believes they may have been blown in by a sudden gust of wind, but how Ms. He didn’t notice them crawling around beneath her eyelid is just as baffling as it is cringe-inducing.

Kangaroos Can’t Walk Backwards

You might be thinking that kangaroos don’t walk anyway, they hop! While that is correct, they can’t hop backward either. Their long feet, oddly-shaped hind legs, and heavy tail make it impossible to "walk" in either direction, so they push off with both feet at the same time instead in a hopping movement officially called saltation.

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Although their muscular tail helps with balance and acts as a sort of third leg, this is also what sadly prevents kangaroos from moving in reverse. Some people even believe that the Australian Coat of Arms features a kangaroo and an emu because neither animal is capable of walking backward, which apparently symbolizes a nation constantly moving forward.

It’s Illegal to Die in One Scandinavian Town

There are many stupid laws around; in fact, we have a full article about weird laws that still exist, but this next one really takes the cake. As if coexisting with a population of around 1000 polar bears wasn’t enough, the 2000 residents of the remote Norwegian town of Longyearbyen must follow one extremely strange rule: they can’t die there.

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Located about halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, Longyearbyen is about as cold as it gets, and therein lies the problem. Back in 1950, locals made a rather disturbing discovery: bodies that had been buried in the freezing ground were being preserved rather than decomposing naturally.

Things became even more worrying when scientists dug up a live sample of the 1918 Spanish flu from one of these long-dead residents in 1998. Locals were so afraid of disease spreading from preserved remains that a law was passed to prohibit anyone else from being buried in the local churchyard. That means anyone nearing the end of their lives now has to fly to the Norwegian mainland before drawing their last breath.

Belgium Once Employed Cats to Deliver the Mail

Back in the 1870s, an unlikely decision was made by officials in the city of Liège in Belgium to turn cats into mailmen. Anyone who owns cats will know that 9 times out of 10, they don’t even respond to their own name, so why someone thought trusting them to deliver people’s mail in a timely manner was a good idea is slightly confusing.

The city hired a fleet of 37 felines deemed fit for the job and trained them to carry messages, which were fastened to their collars in waterproof bags, between neighborhoods.

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The most surprising aspect of this clearly doomed mission was that reports at the time brazenly suggested that the only thing that would go wrong would be if “criminal dogs” robbed the cats of the mail.

The reality was far more anticlimactic. Although one enterprising cat managed to arrive at his destination in under 5 hours, the remaining felines took up to an entire day to deliver the mail to their own homes. Unsurprisingly, those were the last messages ever delivered by kitty mail.

Shakespeare’s Parents and Children were Probably Illiterate

William Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers in history, but it might surprise you to learn that most of his immediate family could neither read nor write. Although we can’t know for sure, Shakespeare’s parents John and Mary probably never learned either of these basic skills because literacy was not a necessary skill for people of their standing during the Elizabethan era.

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Some have suggested that John’s civic duties might have required basic literacy, but as he always signed his name with a mark it seems kind of unlikely. Although William attended Stratford’s local grammar school where he mastered reading, writing, and Latin, he didn’t pass these skills on to his wife or his two daughters Susanna and Judith either.

At the very least, Susanna could scrawl her own signature, but Shakespeare likely didn’t bother teaching them proper literacy; maybe he was just too busy inventing the name "Jessica" instead. Seriously, look it up.

Laugh Tracks are Usually Dead People

If you’re a fan of classic sitcoms like Friends then you’re probably well accustomed to hearing the same old canned laughter on a loop, but you may never have considered that you’re chuckling along (or, rolling your eyes) to the sound of dead people laughing. Most of the people behind those laughs are long gone by now.

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The idea of the “laugh track” originated in the 1950s when a sound engineer named Charley Douglass decided enough was enough after studio audiences kept laughing at the wrong moments during live tapings. It was only then that the classic laugh tracks were recorded and reused again and again for various shows throughout the decades.

Although the tracks were revised every few years to remove certain laughs and add new ones, the classics were ultimately never retired. That means the same people laughing during a classic mid-60s show like Bewitched can probably be heard again in more recent episodes of Frasier if you listen close enough.

Kangaroos Sometimes Throw Their Babies

Plenty of animals have super-cool defense mechanisms, and kangaroos have a little-known natural reflex which is interesting if not a little counter-intuitive. If a mother kangaroo is threatened by a predator like a dingo, she often turns to a fool-proof distraction technique: throwing her baby in its direction.

The baby will probably not survive, but if it means the adult kangaroo can make a quick getaway, that’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make.

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It might seem like a totally savage move, but there’s actually some twisted logic in there. If the adult kangaroo is killed and eaten then it can no longer reproduce, so she’s essentially sacrificing one baby so that future offspring can live. If a mother kangaroo falls on hard times while she has multiple babies in different stages of development to care for, she might also abandon one for the sake of the others.

I hope you were amazed at these weird and wonderful trivia facts. If you want to find out more interesting facts, you might want to take a look at our whole fun facts series. Thanks for reading.

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