Ota Benga: The Man in the Zoo

In 1906, the Bronx Zoo put a human being, a “pygmy” from the African Congo, on display. The incident illustrates not only the pervasive racism of the early 20th century, but also the intense religious opposition to the theory of evolution.

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Ota Benga

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The Jayne Mansfield Story

To some, she was a blonde bombshell and the ultimate sexpot fantasy. To others, she was an actress of limited talent who gained fame mostly through self-promotional antics. Today, her actress daughter is probably more famous. But to residents of the tiny town of Pen Argyl PA, Jayne Mansfield is a hometown girl who made the bigtime.

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Publicity poster for one of Jayne Mansfield’s stage shows

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Black Beetle: The First Jet-Engine Locomotive

Today, we take ultra-highspeed “bullet trains” for granted. But back in the 1960s they were still just a concept, and no one was sure how a super-fast train would work. One of the oddest experiments of the time was the Black Beetle, the world’s first jet-engine locomotive.

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The Black Beetle during a test run.                                                            Photo from Tumblr

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The Last Day of World War One

At 5am on November 11, 1918, the French, British, American and German representatives signed the armistice treaty that formally ended hostilities in the First World War. Under the terms of the Armistice, the war would officially end at 11am that day. All the troops in the trenches had to do was sit tight for the next 6 hours, and everyone would, after four years of the bloodiest stalemate in European history, get to go home intact. Instead, allied forces launched a series of attacks, producing over 10,000 casualties on the last morning of a war that was already over.


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A trench on the Western front photo from WikiCommons 

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Forgotten mysteries, oddities and unknown stories from history, nature and science.