Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

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April 26, 2022

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The United States Post Office began its Parcel Post service for fourth-class mail on January 1, 1913. Almost anything could be mailed parcel post, including day-old chicks, baby alligators, and honeybees. Only items that could be dangerous to handle could not be sent that way. It wasn’t long before parents found an interesting loophole. Later the same month, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, sent their young son via Rural Free Delivery one mile to his grandmother’s house. They paid 15¢ for the stamps and insured their son for $50. Later that month, a family in Pine Hollow, Pennsylvania mailed their daughter to relatives in Clay Hollow at a cost of 45¢.On February 19, 1914, five-year-old May Pierstorff’s parents in Grangeville, Idaho, sent their daughter to visit her grandparents 73 miles away. They placed 53¢ in stamps on her coat and handed her over to the postal worker on the railway mail train, who also happened to be a relative. Despite her safe delivery to her grandmother’s doorstep, once Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson heard her story, he officially prohibited postal workers from accepting humans to be mailed. Nevertheless, a woman mailed her six-year-old daughter 720 miles from Florida to Virginia the following year for 15¢. The last known instance of a child being mailed came in August 1915, when three-year-old Maud Smith was mailed from her grandparents to her sick mother in Kentucky.

The Eiffel Tower was originally intended for Barcelona. The Spanish city thought the design

would be an eyesore, so Gustave Eiffel pitched it to Paris instead, as a temporary landmark

during its 1889 International Exposition. French critics didn’t like it much either though.

Scotland is famous for its love for and long history of myths and legends. It should come as no surprise that a fabled creature—the unicorn— is Scotland’s national animal. While the animal is mythological, the ideals it represents are what make it a perfect, because like this proud beast, Scots would fight to remain unconquered.

Antarctica is the world’s largest desert. It covers the Antarctica continent—roughly 5.5 million square miles. The Sahara Desert covers roughly 3.6 million square miles, and, surprisingly, only ¼ of the Sahara Desert is sandy; the rest is covered in gravel, mountain ranges and oases.


Until 2015, it was illegal to dance in Japan after midnight based on a law introduced in 1948 to crack down on dance halls that acted as fronts for illicit activities. It was only revoked in 2015.


In England, pigeon poop is the property of the Crown. Because pigeon poop could be used to make gunpowder, King George I declared all pigeon poop to be property of the Crown in the 18th century.

Koalas have unique fingerprints. So do chimpanzees and gorillas. But koala fingerprints are so similar to human fingerprints that even forensic scientists have a hard time telling a koala fingerprint from a human one.


Fortune cookies are an American invention. They were invented by Makoto Hagiwara of San Francisco in the 1890s and sold at the Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden.



Dr. James Naismith invented basketball. And yet, he’s the only Kansas Jayhawks basketball coach with a losing record.

The Philippines (the 13th most populous country in the world) is an archipelago, which means it’s made up of a group of islands—7,641 islands, to be exact. (Only about 2000 of them are inhabited.) That number does not include the thousands of sandbars and other landforms that emerge during low tide.

The Roman – Persian wars are the longest in history, lasting over 680 years. They began in 54 BC and ended in 628 AD.

Nebraska’s official state slogan is “Nebraska: Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

At age 32 when he died, Alexander the Great had conquered and created the largest land-based empire the world has ever seen. It stretched from the Balkans to Pakistan. In 323 BC, he became ill and, after 12 days of excruciating pain, he seemingly passed away. However, his corpse didn’t show any signs of rot or decomposition for a whole six days. Modern-day scientists believe Alexander suffered from the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré Syndrome. They believe that when he “died” he was actually just paralyzed and mentally aware. Basically, he was horrifically buried alive!


In the Ancient Olympics, athletes performed naked. They did this to imitate the Gods, and also to help them easily clear toxins from their skin through sweating. In fact, the word “gymnastics” comes from the Ancient Greek words “gumnasía” (“athletic training, exercise”) and “gumnós” (“naked”).



Post-death, Napoléon Bonaparte’s penis was removed from body during autopsy, displayed on a museum, and sold for $2,700 in1977 to John K. Lattimer in 1977, and is still held in his family, who keep it as a private item.


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