Refusing to accept the rules of society, a young man became an accomplished imposter as he pursued his criminal career.
A woman who took up the banditry trade switched gears, became a Member of Parliament and fought for human rights.
During the 1930s, a hate-filled Roman Catholic priest stirred up Americans to the point that they threatened to overturn the government.
A small town in Quebec was devastated in July 2013 when an out-of-control train smashed into its centre.
Almost a thousand years ago a thriving trading community existed in a city in Africa; the location was an engineering marvel.
The power of books to carry knowledge is threatened by those who prefer to keep that knowledge suppressed.
There are several sites where human bodies are left to decompose naturally so that scientists can study tissue breakdown. The information gathered gives valuable assistance to those investigating suspicious deaths.
A lovesick American hijacked an airliner in 1971 so he could visit his pen pal in Italy; it was a romance with a tragic ending.
A young, Cree Indian clashed with Canada's government; it didn't go well for him.
Sometimes art is so bad it becomes good and, fortunately, for those who enjoy a bit of a chuckle, some people have collected these monstrosities.
Brigand or freedom fighter, Pezza led a guerrilla force against the French occupation of Italy late in the 18th century.
The micronation of Sealand is a structure off the east coast of England whose owner claims, without benefit of international recognition, it to be the world’s smallest nation.
Cheating is a familiar part of politics, sports, business, academia, and even in areas that seem quite trivial. This article is not about cheating on your partner.
Playing around with words from Charles Dickens to the novels of Victor Appleton.
There seems to be a virus of homophobia in some police forces.
When powers rise to challenge the domination of another the result is often war.
Springing from the folk traditions of African slaves, root doctors still practice healing powers in South Carolina and elsewhere.
Three hapless criminals became famous for failing to rob a bank in New York City.
Ig Nobel Awards are handed out annually to those who engage in research into really weird stuff.
In 1786, a mentally unstable woman lunged at the British monarch with a knife. She paid dearly for her halfhearted attempt at regicide.
In a very dark chapter in Irish history, unwed mothers and their children were treated appallingly in Catholic-run homes.
In 18 hours of racially motivated violence in 1921, about 300 African Americans lost their lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The twisted story of a hustler, a wealthy antiques dealer, and an untimely death in Savannah, Georgia.
In the middle of the 17th century, England was under the control of Puritans who took the view that having fun was sinful.
There's a body of opinion that says putting someone in prison for life is too harsh. There's another body of opinion that says a life sentence for a heinous crime is appropriate.
"Dinner for One" is a British two-handed comedy routine that has become a massive hit in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and elsewhere.
Called the “medieval Titanic,” the White Ship was a superior vessel that was to take many aristocrats across the English Channel but it didn't get far out of its harbour.
It takes a lot of effort to avoid doing what should be done; distractions have to be found and not acted upon.
The man who rose from petty criminal to become one of the most feared mobsters in Quebec.
The world is running out of sand and the shortage is triggering crime and violence.
An 18th century Scottish philosopher and judge was possessed of great wit, wisdom, and some peculiar behavior's.
As World War II was grinding towards to its cataclysmic end, a heroic effort was made to rescue as many people as possible from concentration camps.
Quirks of history have left the world with numerous strange boundaries between countries.
An extraordinary woman who was brilliant and feisty; she assaulted the male bastion of classical music composition; but she did more, so much more.
In 1755, a massive tectonic shudder devastated the Portuguese capital; its after effects are said to have changed history.
It was an audacious theft aimed at drawing attention to the economic plight of retired people and veterans.
It’s next to impossible to anticipate the full impact of a social policy in complex systems that interact with one another.
A ship's mascot in the Royal Navy saved the lives of many sailors during World War II.
Welshman John Evans managed to persuade himself that there was a tribe of Welsh-speaking Indians in America, so he went looking for them.
Raising our most popular fish in open-sea cages makes salmon affordable but it also raises environmental and health issues.
In 1567, a Spanish duke was made Governor of the Netherlands with instructions to deal with dissidents.
Prosecutors in capital murder cases in Texas found a willing accomplice in forensic psychiatrist James Grigson.
When did people start mixing different liquors together and calling the result a cocktail?
The polling company Ipsos MORI carries out surveys of how much people know about their own countries; the results are sobering.
One of the world's best known ancient monuments was once owned by a British lawyer.
Sometimes called the “Queen of Pirates,” Zheng Yi Sao was the terror of the South China Sea early in the 19th century.
There's a worldwide shortage of donated organs for transplantation and criminal gangs are eager to meet the demand.
Racing drivers, golfers, actors, and others reach the pinnacle of success when they are awarded triple crowns for their efforts. There are very few winners.
Jean Thurel was a French soldier who fought for his country through nine decades.
Samuel Colt, the gun inventor, had a brother who was a bit of a wastrel and found himself condemned to death.
They call themselves the Gulabi Gang and they fight, sometimes literally, in support of women's rights in India's patriarchal and oppressive society.
On May 8, 1927, two French aviators took off from Paris and disappeared creating one of the great mysteries of flying.
A growing number of people are declaring themselves “sovereign citizens” and refusing to pay taxes, buy licenses, or obey court orders.
The first government emerged about 5,000 years ago, and almost immediately crooked people started figuring out how to personally profit from positions of public office.
A highly successful bank robber and thief was the bane of police forces on three continents.
The capital of France has been replicated twice.
What possesses some parents to saddle their children with idiotic names?
Notorious criminals and extremely violent men are sent to the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Most inmates will only leave when they die.
With reputations for extreme brutality, nobody was willing to cross the brothers.
In 1980, four granite megaliths were erected in eastern Georgia and nobody seems to understand their purpose.
Spoiled beyond belief, the heir to Egypt's throne grew up to be a dissolute ruler.
A passenger liner became the first British ship sunk when World War II was only hours old in what was deemed a war crime.
In 18th century Britain, there was a thriving cottage industry in making fake coins and David Hartley was one of the best in the trade.
A cautionary story about how even renowned experts can be fooled.
An A-to-Z of words that are descriptive of former U.S. President Donald Trump. They are not complimentary.
Some wills are mischievous and some are downright malignant.
A surprising number of women develop romantic attachments to some of the worst violent offenders.
In Wales, there is a huge earthwork memorial that honours the lives of horses and ponies that worked in underground coal mines.
The Roman Catholic Church has had 266 popes and a few of them have been rotten to the core.
The characteristics attributed to lions include courage, dignity, strength, majesty, pride, and wisdom; no wonder they have been co-opted by humans for many purposes.
Some people shuffle quietly off this mortal coil and some feel the need to make a last statement on their tombstones; others have messages made for them.
He was one of the leaders of the opposition to South Africa's racist apartheid system.
The robber barons of the late Victorian Age made their billions on the backs of the poor; some see a parallel in today’s wealth inequality.
Explorer, archaeologist, and mountaineer, she played an important role in Britain's Middle East policy-making after World War I.
Negligence, combined with a culture of corporate greed, took the lives of 193 people.
By mistreating prisoners under his supervision he signed his own death warrant.
A physics professor set out to embarrass left-wing attackers of scientific inquiry.
The fruit has become a popular and healthy food choice, but there's a dark side to the avocado trade.
Unimpressed with the hard work and low pay of the cowboy he turned to the life of a swindler.
Some people believe it's possible to predict the future by examining the sediment in a tea cup; others are more grounded.
In the Victorian era, women didn't go off exploring in Africa alone—they just didn't, unless they were Mary Kingsley.
Some inventors profit mightily from their creations while others are destroyed by them.
Han van Meegeren goes down in history as a master art forger.
In 1817, a ragged band of English workers tried to overthrow the government.
The iconic French structure has attracted its fair share of strange events.
John List meticulously planned the killing of his family and then disappeared.
Lucky people have wee folk living in their homes who work to bring peace, harmony, and cleanliness to the household.
The story of an extraordinary woman who re-invented herself several times.
A British aristocrat of the 19th century, she ignored all the rules about how a woman should behave.
In the1950s, a group of children from Greenland had their lives turned upside down.
The night Banjo fell in the dock Pickle Harbour got its first blood donor; and Banjo, come to think of it, would be the second.
In 1982, a massive oil drilling platform off Newfoundland sank, taking the lives of 84 men.
A change of monarch meant that one king's trusted adviser became another king's prisoner.
Despite the oath to tell the truth, witnesses frequently lie in court. But, there’s a class of liar that stands below all the rest―the jailhouse snitch.
Early in the 20th century, an attempt to unionize American workers was met with brutal suppression. Corporate America was the sworn enemy of the IWW and employed sometimes violent tactics to crush it.
Lepa Radić was a teenage woman who fought with Partisans against the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia.
Bet you didn't know your home is filled with things that bring you bad luck.
There are numerous places around the world whose boundaries are questioned.
As Hitler's conquering armies rolled across Europe, they stole everything of value, particularly gold. Where is the loot now?
As the Great Depression tightened its grip on the United States, authorities decided to boot hundreds of thousands of people out of the country.
Old ships were commandeered to act as breakwaters to protect the artificial Mulberry Harbours built on the beaches of Normandy.
David Chan is on a one-man mission to visit as many Chinese restaurants as possible. So far, racked up almost 8,000.
Can a rational human being of normal intelligence have unwanted thoughts placed in their minds by psychological techniques?
Misunderstanding of the real meaning of some words sometimes leads to explosions of misplaced outrage.
An eccentric American millionaire funded scientific inquiry on his Illinois estate.
A West African ruler of the 14th century is thought to have been the richest person to have ever lived. "Forbes" tells us that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the world's richest person with a net worth of $177 billion. If he was alive today, Mansa Musa might mutter something about pocket change.
Victorian London was shocked by a crime of greed and promiscuity. Read about the deadly love triangle of Maria de Roux, Fred Manning and Patrick O'Connor.
The genre of reality television burst on the scene in the 1990s. It should never have been allowed to happen.
An economic theory that says 40- to 60-year cycles of growth follow breakthrough technological advances.
Political upheavals always start with a grievance that somebody is then able to exploit and turn into a revolution.
Some people are fond of saying “Nothing is impossible.” In fact, there are a number of things that cannot be done and here are a few capriciously selected examples.
In 1917, copper miners in Arizona were illegally rounded up and dumped on the Mexican border.
Social psychologists engaged in a series of studies to examine how conflict develops between groups.
A return to some of the strange words in the English language.
Alexander Gordon Laing was a Scottish adventurer who made the nearly impossible trek across the Sahara Desert to Timbuktu.
Why is the week seven days long with, in general, five days of work and two days of leisure?
Good luck charms usually have a history behind them that involves a lot of superstition.
Every once in a while, priceless artworks turn up in unexpected places.
A completely misguided attempt to eradicate four species had disastrous consequences.
Many people risk physical harm in celebrating certain festivals. Take a look at the top five most dangerous celebrations in the world.
That high-pitched whine that comes in the night might be an annoyance to those of us in northern climes; to people in the tropics it can be a harbinger of death.
In the space of a week in November 2021, long-standing convictions against numerous Black men in America have been vacated or overturned.
For centuries, Newfoundlanders have harvested the bounty of the sea; but while the sea gives, it also takes away many of the lives of those who venture in search of its resources. Learn more about the sealing disasters of 1914.
There are some strange brews waiting to be sampled—fermented mare's milk anyone? Some are perhaps best left untouched.
American taxpayers pump more than a billion dollars worth of aid into Jordan every year. Do they know where it all goes?
Women, and some men, apply many beauty products to their bodies and some of these cosmetics contain known cancer-causing substances.
Murphy's Law dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. In many cases, mistakes are very costly
A movement is growing that seeks to redress the imbalance between the haves and the have nots and to bring democracy to the workplace.
The pinnacle of Sunday brunch is a dish whose genesis is murky.
Catastrophic engine failure is a pilot's worst nightmare. Passengers don't much like the thought of it either.
Is it true that if buttered toast/bread slips from the table it usually lands butter side down?
Extremism feeds on having enemies and it must be continuously in conflict with those it opposes.
Who wouldn't want to be the “Admiral of the Fleet,” even if you had no warships to command?
For several hundred years, a prison in London held all manner of miscreants, but in its later years, it became the place where debtors were incarcerated. Learn what life was like for those inside Marshalsea Prison.
They race camels, ostriches, dogs, and even tortoises, so why not cheetahs?
Learn all about a freshly minted British eccentric who embarked on reckless adventures in Canada's frozen North.
There are little bits of territory dotted all around the globe that are peculiar in a variety of ways.
Irony takes several forms and, unless you are the subject of it, it's often amusing.
In the 1930s, a group of Americans sympathetic to the ideals of Nazi Germany set up a community in New York state.
The nobility in Britain are arranged in a rigid and bewildering order of precedence.
A grim spectacle plays out in the Danish Faeroe Islands as scores of dolphins are slaughtered.
In 1917, a Canadian artist of outstanding talent vanished on a canoe trip in Ontario's Algonquin Park. How did Tom Thomson die? The mystery persists to this day.
Dreams of winning a lottery need to be tempered by remembering that sometimes, it's wise to be careful what you wish for.
In the 1930s, a group of upper-class British people gathered to advocate for being friendly toward Hitler.
The crime of parents killing their own daughters in 2009 had Canadians asking, “How could this happen in our generally peaceful country?”
The top hat has been worn by men of wealth and breeding throughout history. It has became an identifying feature of the upper classes.
In November 1970, a woman's body was found in Norway. Who was she? Where did she come from? As yet, there are no answers.
Aristocratic bed-hopping shocked British society when revealed in a messy 1960s divorce.
The approach of winter in the northern hemisphere is sometimes stalled by a period of warmer weather.
In 1856, a simple theft from a street vendor caused a quarrel that led to the deaths of more than a dozen Americans. Have you ever heard about this riot? Here's what you need to know.
Many sports seem quite ridiculous if looked at objectively and without the bias of a fan, but some go way beyond silly to become laughably foolish. This article pays homage to some of the world's truly stupid sports.
In the 1850s, a religious sect set up a Utopian society in upstate New York.
Many people have trouble appreciating modern art. Many people believe that modern art is not art at all, but just a trick of an artist's confidence and insistence that what they're doing is art. Where do you fall in this debate?
Over 60 years ago, a writer exposed the greed of funeral directors in the United States. Has the industry changed?
Greatly feared for his use of violence, Silas Jayne operated in the very dark underworld of the champion horse business.
She rode with the likes of Jesse James, but she was also a villain in her own right. But do the exploits of Belle Starr deserve the notoriety she has been given?
Almost the entire world accepts the Gregorian calendar as a way of marking the passage of time, but there are a few outliers.
The fourth son of King George V became known as the “party prince.” His life was marked by sex and drugs, rock and roll having not yet made an appearance.
A short-sighted plasterer from Britain had dreams of representing his country in the Winter Olympics; astonishingly, he made those dreams come true.
For almost all of human history, all people enjoyed an equal share of resources; then inequality emerged to take a permanent place in society.
At least three million people died of starvation in a British colony. Who was to blame?
Some members of the public become confused when art experts declare something a masterpiece, because to many it looks like the daubings of a child.
Four girls born to an aristocratic British family developed strong-minded opinions that didn't always match contemporary morality.
Some dishes are absolutely revolting to the eye, while others seem very strange to the ear with names that seem far from enticing.
She was a tyrant who tried to rule every aspect of her children's lives.
Insurance fraud is quite common; it even extended into the rarefied world of equestrian sports in the 1970s and '80s. Learn about Tommy Burns, John Druck, Henry the Hawk, and other notables in the horse murder scandal.
It was a contest to see who could own the bragging rights to being the fastest steamboat on the Mississippi River in 1870.
Many Hindus go to the city of Varanasi in the belief that dying there will release them from rebirth and death so they can achieve salvation.
For centuries, people have tried to find new ways of making music; sometimes their efforts have bordered on the weird.
The British Empire was frightfully good fun, don't you know, for the country's dissolute upper crust.
An alphabetical compilation of words used to describe writing techniques.
Old West bandits knew not to mess with Stagecoach Mary, the African American woman who carried mail on horse-drawn wagons.
Did Britain steal a massive amount of wealth from India during its colonial administration of the country?
To escape persecution, Doukhobors went to Canada at the end of the 19th century and settled on the Prairies.
For thousands of years, various cultures have devised mythologies involving cats, some good and some bad.
During the course of its existence, the Roman Catholic Church has created thousands of saints and some of them are quite strange.
The Wild West is full of stories about “soiled doves,” the euphemism for prostitutes; Mary Katherine Harony was one of the more intriguing examples.
In 1972, a medical evacuation in Canada's Northwest Territories went horrible wrong and only one person came out alive.
Artifacts representative of the cultural heritages of many nations reside in the museums and private collections of other countries.
Surely you've been presented with this problem: which came first, the chicken, or the egg? This philosophical problem, known as the chicken-or-egg quandary or the causality dilemma, is trickier than you might think. Here are one author's thoughts on this dilemma.
We all know about President's Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day, but few of us have heard about Ugliest Dog Day, National Flip Flop Day, or the many days set aside to celebrate other strange things.
On several occasions, Germany's Nürburgring is open for the public to drive around; sometimes with tragic results.
Four brothers and a few hangers-on specialized in train robberies in the 1860s.
How the 97-pound doormat became a muscular millionaire.
As 1951 turned into 1952, a story of heroism played out in the storm-tossed seas in the English Channel's Western Approaches. Read about the harrowing tale of the SS Flying Enterprise and its fearless captain.
Shergar was a magnificent thoroughbred that disappeared in an unsolved mystery in 1983. The enigmatic legend of this stolen racehorse has only grown over the years.
The children of Indigenous People in Canada were taken from their families in an attempt to destroy their culture.
Western movies have given us a false notion of the American frontier. How did this happen? What was the west really like?
The decoding of the Voynich manuscript in 2021 promised to reveal long-held truths from one of history's most mysterious grimoire-type books. Still, this 600-year-old manuscript has experts from several disciplines baffled as to its meaning.
Almost inedible Seville oranges are turned into a preserve that many people claim to enjoy as part of their breakfast.
Imagine you're a soldier and you see a bear lumbering toward you. This could have been your reality in wars of the past. During World War II, the Polish army enlisted an unusual recruit: a brown bear. Read on for the full story of the bear who fought in war.
The small Italian island Lampedusa in the Mediterranean is the gateway for sub-Saharan African migrants trying to start new lives in Europe.
Have you heard of the Stone of Scone? Do those words mean anything to you? It might be just a block of sandstone, but to Scots, it has a special meaning. Read on to learn what this block means to the Scottish people.
Some people and bookmakers are willing to take bets on the most outlandish occurrences.
Is it satire or parody? Or maybe satirical parody? The two styles of creative criticism sometimes blend together and are often confused with one another. This article will delineate their meanings with examples.
A sad story of two lovers and an angry king unfolded in medieval Portugal.
Many enslaved people, distraught at the appalling conditions of their servitude, tried to run away; a cruel band of men was recruited to capture them and deter future absconders.
Sometimes two figures of speech get tangled together and we learn about seeing a carrot at the end of the tunnel. Find out what malaphors are and some funny examples of them.
Bleak and windswept are adjectives frequently used to describe the west coast of Scotland; they certainly apply to Scoraig, and the word “remote” can also be added to the list. Today, Scoraig is home to people seeking an alternative way of life.