Survived The Titanic And Became A Hero Of Dunkirk

Charles Lightoller never really expected to survive when the Titanic started to go down, he was the second officer after all. Tradition meant he would go down with the ship, giving priority to woman & children. But he did end up surviving and then went on to become a hero not only in World War I but also World War II.

In 1912, when the what was supposed to be an unsinkable ship the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, Charles Lightoller was onboard as the second officer. He was actually already in bed when the Titanic hit the infamous iceberg and started to sink. He was fairly confident the ship would never sink, but decided to be overly cautious and started to apply the “Woman & Children” first rule. He ensured that the deck did not descend into panic and once it was clear the ship was in fact doomed, he simply shook hands with the rest of the officers and said goodbye.

Lightoller decided to dive into the waters from the bridge and somehow was not sucked under with the massive ship. This allowed him to cling to some wreckage and survive until the Carpathia scooped him onboard, he was, in fact, the highest ranking officer to have survived the wreck. However, adventures on the sea were only just starting for Lightoller, who joined the Royal Navy during the First World War.

Lightoller was given command of his own torpedo boat, decorated twice for his actions and came out of the war as a fully decorated naval commander. He retired after the great war but did not quit the sea completely. Lightoller and his wife had a boat the Sundower, which they spent the next decade on quietly sailing around Northern Europe.

Until the Germans starting to prepare again for war, then as only a true hero could, Lightoller started to embark on secret surveillance missions for the Admiralty in his own boat. Which led to him being ready for the British government’s call to help evacuate troops from Dunkirk. His only stipulation? He would command the Sundower himself.

The Sundower was able to carry an amazing 260 men safely back from Dunkirk, all the while impressively dodging enemy aircraft fire. Therefore becoming one of the only people to survive three of the most deadly maritime events of the century.

The Great Long Distance Runners Of Tarahumara

The Tarahumara runners of Mexico are known to be some of the best marathon runners in the world, this has come about due to their lifestyle which relies greatly on being able to run great distances. In fact, their tribe is called Raramuri people, which translates into “The Running People.”

Home to Northern Mexico’s rugged mountain region of Sierra Madre, these indigenous tribes went deep into the mountains during the 16th century. It was a way to escape the slave raids and attacks by the Spanish conquistadors. And it worked perfectly, they lived peacefully isolated from the world for over hundreds of years.

Deep in the mountains, they learned how to grow their crops on the most rugged of terrains, surviving off corn, potatoes, and beans. And they were able to safely live in the natural caves found around these mountains, usually, there was a complex network of trails which linked different Rancheras.

Rancheras were small communities of around 3 to 7 families which all worked and shared the same farmland. Delivering messages between the separated Rancheras was always needed and it had to be done swiftly, therefore running became a normal part of their lifestyle. And it was also present in hunting, where their main tactic was to simply follow a deer until it became exhausted.

Their whole culture revolves around running with multiple games designed to start running from an early age such as chasing a ball down mountain trails for hours or even days. Notably, they only wear sandals to allow the full natural movement of feet during running, their technique involves keeping their weight on the balls of their feet rather than their heels.

And the great part is, if you ever see a Tarahumara runner going through the mountains you can see that running is simply a joy to them. Their smiles are infectious and they never seem to feel the fatigue or see it as a chore. Running is a fun part of their lifestyle which keeps them extremely happy. They don’t run for exercise, it is just a part of their normal way of living and what they see as the funniest part of their existence.

The Frenchmen Who Saved The Pyramids

Everyone loves tales of ancient Egypt, the pyramids and the tombs. Tales of grave robbers and booby traps, long lost treasure and ancient mummies being found. So it would come as a surprise to hear that at one point the local government was thinking of destroying the pyramids. Surely such a structure of heritage and culture could never be touched?

One such story is the ruler Muhammad Ali who during the early 19th century was set on modernization and industrialization Egypt. In the 1830s he had finally able to approve a plan to build a dam across the Nile Delta. This was going to bring irrigation to the land and help farmers grow their crops. There was however a concern about paying for the necessary construction material, but then Muhammed Ali realized they had an abundance of stone ready to be used: the Pyramids of Giza.

His plan was to demolish the Pyramids and use the quarried rock to dam the river up. However, his lead engineer was French-born Louis Marie Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds and this Frenchman had a certain love for the pyramids. He was not ready to destroy the heritage of the Egyptian people, even if their leader demanded it.

So he prepared a cost analysis about using the Pyramids versus mining the stone from Cairo. And the ingenious Frenchmen decided to fake some of the numbers so that it would work out to be more expensive to use the stone from the Pyramids. He factored in large disassembling costs that would make the project cost more than if they were to buy their stone from the mines of Cairo.

And it worked! Once he presented his analysis the ruler Muhammad immediately stops talking about his idea to destroy the pyramids. Though there is actually some debate in the truth of this tale, it is very cool to think an engineer saved some world monuments from being destroyed. If you are wondering why the ruler would have this idea in the first place, well Egypt did have a long history of reusing stone from temples and monuments to construct new buildings. In most cases it simply had to be that way: the region was too scarce and the required stone was expensive.

The Fake Story That Caused Millions To Smoke Banana Peels

Drug scares are always turning up all over the world, but sometimes you find a certain hysteria over fake drugs which to an outsider is pretty hilarious. Even today we see urban legends such as getting high off raw sewage or listening to certain radio wavelengths. And though these are going viral on social media, they never really reached the same outright silliness of that time in the 1960s when people were certain smoking banana peels was a way to get high.

During the hippie scene of the 60s, rumors started to circulate of the mythical banana narcotic. Young people were always looking for new ways to get high, mostly driven by LSD and the growing use of pot. But those drugs cost money and hippies never really had any money. As you know banana scrapings are pretty cheap so that is why millions of people fell for the tale of banana drugs.

The rumor apparently started in a fake story published by The East Village Other, which was a popular magazine of the time where the editors regular discussed the inner workings of LSD. The thought was bananas contain serotonin like LSD so they must also get your brain high. The article kind of created the race of finding natural highs, and as a result hippies eagerly started to spread the concept of smoking banana peels.

And though it is completely true the bananas contain serotonin, it is not enough at all to get someone high. The levels needed to cross from blood to brain need to be quite high, but nevertheless, the rumor spread extremely quickly.

The real craze started when the lead singer of the band Country Joe and the Fish handed out over 500 banana joints at a concert. Once this happened, there were recipes being published all over the hippie culture magazines on how to prepare your bananas to be smoked. Definitely, this will not be the last drug hoax we see, but it may have been the biggest.

The Hippo And The Tortoise A New Fairytale

A story that anyone could mistake from being a new fairytale is one where the two characters made an unlikely friendship. This is the story of when a baby hippo struck up a strange friendship with an extremely old tortoise. An orphaned baby hippopotamus was rescued after a natural disaster that shook the whole world and found a 130 old tortoise to be its friend. Though this sounds like it is completely fictional or a children’s story, the tale of Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise are completely true.

The animals are now both in the wards of Lafarge Ecosystem which is an animal wildlife sanctuary in Mombasa, Kenya. Dr. Paula Kahumbu is in charge and has told the story of the unlikely friendship many times to media outlets around the world.

December 2004, is when the story begins, just a normal quiet day when suddenly the ocean threatened to engulf the whole coast of Africa. The tide rose tremendously due to a tsunami that had started 4000 miles away from all the way in the Indian Ocean. It took 12 hours for the tsunami to hit the African coast from its starting point in Banda Aceh, but eventually, it did.

Of course, most people had seen the news and had ample time to find refuge from the waves, but a one-year-old hippopotamus was not so lucky. A strange case of heavy rains had washed a family of hippos down the Sabaki River out into the open sea. Locals tried their best to urge them back up the river inland, but when the sea becomes too rough they were forgotten as most efforts focused on saving stranded fishermen.

The next day, just one hippo was found stranded on a beach reef and it was a baby. It took ropes and boats, nets and even cars to rescue the hippo but eventually, it was done. In fact, one brave man had to rugby tackle the hippo to the floor to finally capture him for the rescue. Arriving in Mombasa at the sanctuary, Owen the hippo was tired and confused.

And of course, the hippo was extremely frightened, so upon release in Haller Park it immediately ran over to a 130-year-old tortoise and cowered behind him much like a baby hippo would do behind its mother. Mzee the tortoise was at first very confused, but after a few days also showed signs of affection.

The tortoise and the hippo now spend their days together taking walks around the park, and feeding together. Owen the hippo will eventually move to a bigger enclosure where there will be the possibility of socializing with more hippos.

Jacklyn Lucas Was One Badass Marine

Everyone who has learned anything about explosives knows that jumping on top of a live grenade is the most selfless act one can commit. It also requires courage and heroism that most people are just not capable of, but of course, if you were a badass marine like Jacklyn Lucas, then this was just another normal everyday occurrence.

It takes a special and rare type of person who is able to come to terms with the fact that they will be destroying themselves to save their buddies. Resisting that pull of human nature to self-preserve and to just give themselves up without any hesitation, so that other lives can go on. It is one the most heroic acts of courage a marine can commit, so much so that it almost in all cases earns you Medals of Honor and Victoria Crosses. More of these types of medals have been handing out for this type of action than any other type of activity.

Of course, given that the whole act happens in about two to three seconds and that well after the act the hero has exploded… it makes it a very tough subject to talk about. Luckily there has been a couple of marines who have pulled off this feat of heroism and lived to tell the tale. One of them was Jacklyn Lucas.

Jack Lucas from the 1st battalion 26th marines jumped not only onto one grenade to save his buddies, but jumped onto two and ultimately lived on to tell his story. Born in 1928 in a rural town of North Carolina, he decided that the only way out of being given a girl name was to be so hardcore that people would only refer to him as Jack. After pearl harbor, he knew it was time to act and bribed an official to swear he was 17, walked over the border to Virginia and forged his mother signature to enlist in the marines. And this was at the age of 13.

He made it through the most intense military training that the world has and at 14 was assigned to a boring manual labor job at the Training Battalion on Parris Island. He took this personally so decided to abandon his post and rode over to pearl harbor where he promptly told an officer there had been a clerical error and he was supposed to be in the front lines in a combat arms role. But they made him a truck driver at Pearl Harbour.

After a couple of years of starting bar fights and causing problems in Honolulu with several arrests by the military police, he decided that enough was enough and he was going to front lines to raise hell. And that is how on February 20th, 1945, 17-year-old Private Jack Lucas assaulted the beach at Iwo Jima without a rifle. And this is where he saved his comrades by jumping onto two shrapnel grenades.

Ancient Underground City Of Derinkuyu

If you are looking for your next tourist destination think about checking out the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu in Cappadocia the central Anatolia region of Turkey. A beautiful natural wonder in itself with caverns and caves but it is also a place that has an extensive subterranean city. Secret tunnels and underground dwellings that people have used for shelter for centuries.

In the region, there are actually hundreds of these types of homes and the most famous happens to be in Derinkuyu. This city would have been capable of housing over 20,000 people in its prime and goes down to the depths of 250 feet. The multi-leveled city seems to have developed out of frustration from being a country that was riddled with invasion. The underground safety had everything needed to house and keep safe an entire population.

The funny thing is that this underground city was not really discovered until 1963 when a family was renovating their home. Once the wall was caved in, they discovered an underground room under their home. This led to a subterranean passageway that opened up, and when they went down to explore well the workers realized there was a complete maze of underground dwellings. To this day it is one of the biggest archaeology finds.

There is actually eighteen levels in the city, explorers and researchers found kitchens, bedrooms, and food storage rooms. There were schools and churches, they even found oil & wine presses or weapon storage areas. It was without a doubt a complete underground city.

And perhaps even cooler was the existence of a passageway all the way to another underground city by the name of Kaymakli, which was 8 kilometers away. Which means that the civilizations in the area were cooperating and had regular interaction. Historians still debate on who would have created this magnificent city, it could have been the Hittites or the Phrygians which means it was built between 800 to 1200 BC.

The 18 Richest Men Throughout All of History

Wealth has indisputably become a very political hot-button issue these days. With all of the controversy around the “1%” of the ultra-rich, it is interesting to look at history and see who really controlled the most wealth.

Many of today’s billionaires are famous, well-known people whose names you probably know, but even they are not nearly as wealthy as some from history.

This is just a small list of people who have solidified their legacy by being the richest people in the history of the world. Some used their money for the betterment of the world, and some you may argue were downright evil; but one thing’s for sure: they were (or are) really really filthy rich!

Most Powerful Men Throughout History

History is very powerful. We don’t always realize the influence it has on us. Many men have been involved in affecting the way we live today. Men with great minds, men who have done great acts or have created movements of thought.

Tracing how their actions affect us can actually feel liberating and help us understand the world we live in today. When we understand how our world has been led here, we can keep advancing as a species and appreciate the lives we have today.

Of all the countless men who have walked this Earth, here are the most powerful men who have impacted life as we know it more than any others.

Rare Whale Puke Ends Up In Perfume

Known as ambergris, you may be forgiven for thinking it is a rare flower or natural element that smells beautiful – especially when you learn it is sought out heavily by perfumeries. In fact, reading any bottle of perfume you may see ambergris listed on the ingredients. It is used as a binding agent in numerous popular perfumes. When you learn exactly what ambergris is, however, you may jump up in surprise.

No, it is not an exotic flower, a rare wood or a citrus fruit. It is nothing luxurious at all, it is, in fact, whale puke! Months before the ambergris reaches hundreds of bottles of Chanel No. 5, you will find it in its natural form, attached to the intestinal walls of a sperm whale. Ambergris is rare as it only forms in sperm whales and does not appear in any other species. Though scientists still have no idea why that is, the theory is that the substance will cover objects that are harder to digest such as squid beaks.

However, more commonly it is just seen as whale vomit, and it is estimated that only one percent of sperm whales actually produce the ambergris that perfumeries chase down. Once expelled the ambergris is a dullish grey or black color which floats to the surface of the ocean. Often it is found years after it comes out of a sperm whale and in its pure form it often simply smells like the sea.

But the magic happens when you take it out of the sea and it starts to harden. Here over time, it starts to harden and then it takes on a sweeter and earthier smell. Of course, ambergris tends to be very rare and is notoriously hard to find, looking like rocks on the shore and impossible to find floating. In fact, due to its rarity, the price for ambergris can reach in the thousands of dollars for a single ounce.

Even before modern times it has been reported to be used as a fragrance, ancient Egyptians were noted to use it as an incense and medieval Europeans reportedly used it to cover the smell of death.

Woman Married The Berlin Wall For 29 Years

One woman growing up in the 1970s had an extremely bizarre fetish that led her to be attracted to inanimate objects, notably concrete walls. In 2008, Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer revealed that for 29 years she had been married to the Berlin Wall.

Her family name does actually translate to Berlin Wall in German and she claimed to have wed the concrete structure in 1979. She has actually been diagnosed with a rare condition called object sexuality. Object sexuality is a form of sexuality whereas you may have guessed one is extremely focused on inanimate objects. Individuals with this preference find themselves with extreme feelings of love, commitment or attraction to any sort of inanimate objects from concrete structures to basic electricals. In fact, even the mere thought of a relationship with a real human being seems crazy.

Mrs. Berliner-Mauer claims she first fell in love with the Berlin Wall during her early childhood at seven years old when she saw the Berlin Wall on television. From that point on she started saving up money to make a visit and collected as many photos of the structure as she could. When she made her sixth visit in 1979 she then decided to make everything official and married the Berlin Wall in 1979.

And she insists they had a loving and full relationship, though she is of course still a virgin in the human sense of the term. Mrs. Berliner-Mauer who now lives in Liden, Sweden advised that to this day she still finds the long horizontal lines to be extremely sexy.

She has even been quoted saying: “The Great Wall of China’s attractive, but he’s too thick – my husband is sexier.”

Of course, the worst happened when the wall was torn down in 1989. While most of mankind rejoiced the end of the Cold War and the demolishing of the Berlin Wall; Mrs. Berliner-Mauer wept for days. She has never returned and claimed that they mutilated her husband.