With the right state of mind, enough time on your hands and a can-do attitude/darkened worldview, your casual Wikipedia browsing can quickly devolve into hours spent amongst the site’s weird, bizarre, and morbidly fascinating black holes. Making it virtually impossible to uncover all of the site’s many dark and dusty corners — but damned if we didn’t try.
We’ll probably never be able to find them all, but we can at least compile the strangest of the strange. Here are some of the weirdest, most bizarre Wikipedia entries we’ve ever laid eyes on. Think you’ve got a better one to share? Don’t hold back, friend. We’re here to learn.
A self explanatory name if ever there was one. As Wikipedia so delicately puts it, the Euthanasia Coaster is a “roller coaster designed to kill its passengers.” How does a coaster kill its passengers? By theoretically being the 10th tallest structure ever constructed. At about a third of a mile high, 24 passengers would spend a solid two minutes travelling up to the top of the first and only hill. Then, the 500-meter drop would carry passengers at 220 miles-per-hour through a series of smaller and smaller loops, which would ensure that the deadly 10 g dose of force would never quite let up.
Of course, a real, life(death?)-sized version doesn’t actually exist; for now, it’s merely a concept/scale model born of Julijonas Urbonas, a doctoral student at the Royal College of Art in London and owner of the rhymingest damned name you ever did see. Apparently, Julijonas Urbonas got the idea from a “description of the ‘ultimate’ roller coaster as one that ‘sends out 24 people and they all come back dead.'”
A spite house is exactly what it sounds like. Do you hate your neighbour? Do you wish to permanently spite them by impeding their light, space, and any otherwise general enjoyment they might find within their living quarters? Then you want to build a spite house! For example, in the image you see above, that little plot of land was all one brother left to the other of their father’s estate while the latter brother was at war. When the veteran came home to find that his scheming sibling had left him a plot of land just small to be near-unusable, he built a skinny little structure just tall enough to block his bro’s light and ruin his good view.
Vladimir Demikhov was a human centipede enthusiast before anyone knew that was even an option. More specifically, he was a Soviet scientist who performed all sorts of insane (successful!) experiments like, for instance, creating his very own two-headed pup. Of course, Vlad was also a major pioneer in the field of organ transplantation in general. The doctor to perform the world’s first heart transplant had even visited Demikhov’s lab twice prior — a part of his tale that’s often overlooked in favour of the fact that this man made a living two-headed dog.
David Charles Hahn built a nuclear reactor in a shed in his backyard at the age of 14. After Hahn warned cops who’d pulled him over not to touch anything in his car as they’d probably get radium poisoning, the authorities began to get suspicious. Ten month’s later, the EPA had to come clean up his family property as a Superfund cleanup site.
Unfortunately for Hahn, though, he was barred from ever pursuing a career in nuclear physics since, according to the EPA he has very likely gone over the maximum dosage of thorium exposure. He did, however, receive his Atomic Energy merit badge in Boy Scouts. So there’s that.
Whether done on a lark or to call out diploma mills for their phony/nonexistent academic standards, there is a whole slew of animals walking around with MBAs while pooping on sidewalks. These are those animals. In one case, a cat named George was even able to become an accredited member of the British Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming. Way to go, George.
If you’ve ever wanted to read over 5,000 words on the orientation of toilet paper, boy do I have a treat for you. The article covers everything from politesse to technological improvements to sociology to psychology to popular culture to arguments for to arguments against to probability science and the list goes on and on. The most bizarre part of the whole article, though, is the fact that once you start, you actually want to keep reading.
via Admiral Brent
Another one that is, unfortunately in this instance, exactly what it sounds like. The article itself has a richly detailed description of an ancient Persian method of torturous execution, but here’s the gist (maybe stop now if you plan on eating anytime in the near future):
The unlucky victim would be strapped into a hollowed out wooden tube of sorts and force-fed milk and honey to the point of diarrhoea and/or vomiting. Then, for good measure, the execution would pour even more honey over their victim “with special attention to the eyes, ears, mouth, face, genitals, and anus.” Then, to make sure they didn’t die of dehydration, the milk and honey meal would be repeated daily, all while more and more insects were heeding the honey’s calling and breeding in the victim’s flesh and feces, until death came several days later, likely from dehydration, starvation, or septic shock. So, you know, not the best way to go.
You’ll be happy to know that this one is entirely unrelated to death, bugs, or feces. The banana equivalent dose (or BED) was apparently first proposed in a nuclear safety mailing list in 1995 as a way of expressing amounts of naturally occurring radiation in a way that’s immediately graspable. A banana made a logical unit, since eating one banana uses up one per cent of your radiation exposure average for a single day. In other words, in a single day you’re generally exposed to about 100 BED. Some more fun, real world-esque examples:
The maximum permitted radiation leakage for a nuclear power plant is equivalent to 2,500 BED (250 μSv), while a chest CT scan delivers 70,000 BED (7 mSv). A lethal dose of radiation treatment is approximately 80,000,000 BED (8 Sv). A person living 10 miles from the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor received 700 BED of exposure to radiation, the equivalent of eating two bananas each day for a year.
via M Mahoney
In the mid 19th century, Joshua Abraham Norton had been accrued a decently sized fortune in San Francisco before a series of bad rice investments left him penniless. As rice investments are wont to do. Humbled and disgruntled, Norton decided to take destiny into his own hands and try his luck at declaring himself Emperor of these United States. Which he did with the following letter:
At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
The high points of his nonexistent 21-year reign include Norton adding the phrase “Protector of Mexico” onto his title for absolutely no reason, abolishing Congress entirely, abolishing both major political parties, and mandating that both the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Church declare him Emperor.
In other words, Norton is a true American hero — if for no reason other than the fact that, when we die, we should all be so lucky as to have our Wikipedia pages bear the section “Declares self emperor.”
Got an even better/weirder/grosser Wikipedia favourite? Share it below!