10 Journalists Who Paid The Ultimate Price

Becoming a journalist is one of the most popular childhood dreams in the world, but it often comes with a price. Those who tirelessly campaign against the powerful and corrupt sometimes find themselves facing terrifying and violent threats.
Reporters Without Borders claim that nearly half of the world lacks access to free information, and journalists across the globe still face intimidation, imprisonment, and death for daring to speak out. This is a list of ten journalists who paid the ultimate price for pursuing stories that some people did not want us to hear.
10
Kim Wall
Kim Wall was a freelance journalist who had reported from countries such as Haiti, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. Originally born in Sweden, and a graduate of the London School of Economics and Columbia University, interviewing a Danish inventor probably seemed like the kind of story that simply couldn’t go wrong. But on August 10, 2017, Wall left Copenhagen harbor on Peter Madsen’s famous “homemade” submarine and was never seen alive again.
Wall was reported missing by her boyfriend when she did not return the next day. Police then sent out a rescue team to look for the submarine and found it sinking. Madsen was rescued, but Wall was nowhere to be found. It appeared that Madsen had deliberately sunk the vessel, and after initially telling authorities that he had dropped Wall off on a Copenhagen island, he changed his story, claiming that an “accident” on board had resulted in her death, and he had buried her at sea.[1]
Ten days later, Wall’s dismembered torso was found by a passing cyclist. Police told reporters that Wall’s “coagulated blood” was also found on the submarine, and her limbs had been deliberately cut from her body. There were marks on her torso suggesting someone had tried to “press air” out of it to prevent it from floating, and a piece of metal had been attached, presumably to help it sink.
Two months after her disappearance, divers found plastic bags containing Wall’s severed head, items of her clothing, and other body parts. Some of Wall’s body is still missing, and it is not yet known how she died, or why her body was dismembered.
9
Natalia Estemirova
Natalia Estermirova was an esteemed Chechen journalist and tireless critic of Vladimir Putin. She had won international awards for her work as both a writer and human rights activist. Just hours before Estermirova was killed, she had attended a press conference calling for Putin to be prosecuted in an international court for crimes in her native Chechnya. She was also an outspoken opponent of the Kremlin-backed Chechen President, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Before her death, Estemirova had published a report accusing members of the Kadyrov administration of carrying out revenge killings, and she had also begun to express to her friends that she feared for her safety, and the safety of her fifteen-year-old daughter. Her friends and daughter claimed she was receiving threats from senior officials. Then, on a July morning in 2009, Estemirova set off for her usual 20-minute journey to work. She made it just 100 meters from her 10th floor flat in Grozny before four gunmen grabbed her, and threw her into white car. The kidnapping was witnessed by a passer-by. The car drove to the Russian republic of Ingushetia, where Estemirova, with her hands tied, was shot five times in the head and chest. When her body was found, she still had her money, passport, and ID.
The official investigation concluded that Estemirova was killed by an armed militant group known as Alkhazur Bashaev, but few accept that story.[2]
8
Elijah Parish Lovejoy
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was an American minister, journalist, and abolitionist. Born in 1802, Lovejoy attended Colby College in his home state of Maine and graduated as a valedictorian and class poet. Lovejoy later moved to Missouri, where he began writing for a religious newspaper: the St. Louis Observer.[3]
There, Lovejoy began using his editorial to condemn slavery and soon began receiving threats against himself, and his family. When he condemned the lynching of a free African-American man without trial, a judge presiding over the case blamed Lovejoy for the murder, accusing him of stirring up the mob with his anti-slavery writings. A mob then broke into Lovejoy’s office and destroyed his printing press, prompting him to make the decision to move to Illinois, a formally anti-slavery state.
However, the people of Illinois were also hostile to Lovejoy’s abolitionist views. The first two printing presses he purchased were destroyed, despite attempts to deliver them in the middle of the night and hide them in a warehouse. Lovejoy and his colleagues had to constantly guard the warehouse where they stored their resources. When a local mob got word that another printing press was due to arrive on November 7, 1837, they stormed the building and set it on fire. As Lovejoy tried to extinguish the blaze, he was shot by an unknown assailant.
7
Bernard Darke
Bernard Darke was a British-born Jesuit priest, and a part-time photographer for The Catholic Standard, a weekly, religious Guyanese newspaper. The newspaper was run by Andrew Morrison, a Georgetown native and outspoken opponent of Forbes Burnham, a socialist leader who acted as Prime Minister, and then President of Guayana from 1964 to 1985.
On July 14, 1979, there was a large demonstration in Georgetown against the government of Forbes Burnham. Darke was there taking pictures when a pro-government mob began to attack the protestors. Three of the assailants then turned on Darke, beating him with staffs. He was then chased to a street corner, where he was stabbed in the back with a bayonet. He suffered significant damage to one of his lungs and later died in hospital.[4]
Five people were arrested, and one charged with the murder of Bernard Darke. All five men were members of the “House of Israel,” a cultled by US born David Hill. The cult has no ties to Israel, nor Judaism, and just seven years later, Hill would also be charged in the murder of one of his followers.
6
Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz
Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz was an Egyptian journalist and activist and was among the many who were killed during the Raab massacre of 2013. She wrote for Xpress News in Dubai, but was reportedly on annual leave at the time and attending the protests as a civilian.
On August 14, 2013, Habiba was attending a protest in Cairo in support of the deposed President, Mohammed Morsi. Her father had been a media advisor to Morsi. The demonstrations soon turned violent when security forces stormed two protest camps, and at least 412 people were killed. Habiba was staying in a nearby mosque that had been turned into a makeshift hospital. Her last texts, to her mother, stated that the crowd was on “high alert” and that she was heading on to a platform. Around midday, Habiba’s mother tried calling. A stranger picked up and told her that her daughter was dead.[5] She had been shot in the head.
In 2014, Habiba’s brother, Mosaab, was arrested in Abu Dhabi and accused of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He was deported, and sentenced to three years in prison with no right to appeal the decision. He was kept in solitary confinement and was not allowed to contact his family until 2015. He says he was tortured, and forced to sign a confession.
5
Fritz Gerlich
Fritz Gerlich was a right-wing journalist and well-known political analyst in 1930s Germany. He studied history at the University of Munich and was an outspoken opponent of both Communism and Nazism. He condemned anti-Semitism and even met with Adolf Hitler three times in 1923.
Gerlich was appalled by the Beer Hall Putsch, and he left his newspaper in 1931 when the editor began to fund Hitler’s campaign. He began publishing his own weekly newsletter, and predicted that Hitler’s leadership would lead to “enmity with neighboring countries, internal totalitarianism, civil war, international war, lies, hatred, fratricide and infinite trouble.” After the death of Hitler’s niece, officially ruled a suicide, Gerlich published a report stating he had evidence Hitler had ordered her killing. He then began to mock Hitler by using “racial science” to claim that he was not Aryan, but Mongolian.[6] By 1932, Gerlich’s newspaper had a circulation of over 100,000 readers.
Just one year later, Hitler would be in power, and Gerlich was one of his first victims. Just one day after seizing control, the SA (a paramilitary predecessor to the SS) stormed Gerlich’s offices and arrested him. The editorial staff was attacked, machines and desks destroyed, and Gerlich was tortured in prison. On June 30, 1934, now known as the Night of the Long Knives, Gerlich was transferred to the Dachau Concentration Camp and immediately assassinated. Authorities notified his wife of his death by sending her his blood-stained glasses.
4
Anabel Flores Salazar
Anabel Flores Salazar was Mexican journalist from Veracruz state. She reported for El Sol de Orizaba on crime, corruption, and police activity. Two newspapers she had previously worked for had been attacked by gunmen in 2011. She was currently reporting on the case of a store owner who had been shot dead, and she was investigating the mysterious deathsof several teenage girls in her neighborhood.[7]
At 2:00 a.m. on February 8, 2016, a group of armed men entered Flores Salazar’s home. They were reportedly wearing military uniforms and claimed to have a warrant for her arrest. Her aunt, who was also in the house at the time, pleaded with them, telling the assailants that she had recently had a baby. Flores Salazar was taken into one of three grey trucks that were parked outside, and she was never seen alive again. A day later, her body was found on a highway in a neighboring state. She was half-naked, her hands and feet had been bound, and there was a plastic bag covering her head. She had died of suffocation.
Flores Salazar left behind two children; a baby and a four-year-old. She was the third journalist to be killed in Mexico in 2016.
3
Naseem Intriri
Naseem Intiri was a British freelance journalist who was covering the war in Syria when she was killed. Intiri was staying with a group of Syrian activists and other journalists in Darkoush, near the Turkish-Syrian border. They were reportedly filming a documentary about Syrian refugees. The Syrian government has banned most international journalists from covering the war, and many have to smuggle themselves in, making it an incredibly risky job.[8]
A witness reported that Syrian soldiers and a plain-clothed militia known as the “Shabiha” began shooting at the house where the journalists were staying on a Monday morning in March 2012. He said that the journalists were initially able to flee, but returned to retrieve their equipment when the shooting appeared to stop. One person was shot in the head, and another in the chest. The witness claimed that the military took away their bodies. Another journalist was shot in the shoulder and was able to flee and received treatment in Antakya, Turkey.
That same week, a Kurdish photographer was kidnapped and murdered by unknown assailants. His body reportedly showed clear signs of torture. Syria is ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
2
Marisol Macías Castañeda
Marisol Macías Castañeda was a Mexican journalist and the editor-in-chief of Primera Hora, a local newspaper in Nuevo Laredo. She had previously worked for a newspaper, El Mañana, that was attacked once in 2004, and again in 2006. Marisol, or María, also helped moderate an online site; Nuevo Laredo Live, where locals could anonymously post about local gangs. Her pseudonym was “The Girl from Laredo.” People posted everything from the addresses of local gang safe houses, where gang members were living, and even where they were selling drugs. Many suspect the website of belonging to the federal government.[9]
In September 2011 Castañeda’s body was found decapitated on a local street. Her head was found on a large stone piling nearby. Next to her remains was a handwritten note that read, “Nuevo Laredo en Vivo and social networking sites, I’m The Laredo Girl, and I’m here because of my reports, and yours, for those who don’t want to believe, this happened to me because of my actions, for believing in the army and the navy. Thank you for your attention, respectfully, Laredo Girl . . . ZZZZ.”
Earlier that same month, a couple were found hanging from an overpass in Nuevo Lareda with similar notes claiming they were killed in retaliation for posting on social media. The woman had been disemboweled. Two months after Castañeda’s death, the body of a young man was found in the exact same spot as she was, also having been decapitated, with another note warning against posting on the website, Nuevo Laredo Live.
1
Serena Shim
Serena Shim was a US journalist who was reporting in Turkey at the time of her death. She was working for Press TV. She had broadcasted from places such as Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine and was reporting on the presence of IS and Al-Qaeda militants on the Turkish-Syrian border. Her work is currently on display at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.[10]
After returning to Turkey in October 2014, she discovered that the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation was actively seeking information on her whereabouts. Reportedly, she had been labeled a spy. Shim stated this on a live broadcast for Press TV. Just one day later, the rental car she was driving was involved in a fatal car crash. She reportedly died of heart failure in the hospital, but there has never been an official investigation into her death.
Turkey has been referred to as the “world’s largest prison for journalists” by Reporters Without Borders, and Shim reportedly feared that she would soon be arrested. Many, including colleagues and family, believe that she was assassinated by the government. But without any real evidence, it is impossible to know what really happened to Serena Shim.

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Harvey Weinstein

As a world-famous producer and a cofounder of Miramax Films, Harvey Weinstein’s name has frequently been listed in the credits of some of our favorite movies. He has accepted various accolades and often been thanked by Hollywood’s brightest stars in their award acceptance speeches.
This week, however, Weinstein’s name has been mentioned in all the worst ways. The father of five with a net worth of $300 million has been accused of sexual abuse by some of the biggest names in Hollywood as well as numerous other women. Despite all the media coverage, here are 10 surprising facts you may not know about Harvey Weinstein.
Featured image credit: The Telegraph
10
He’s Been Honored By The French
Photo credit: movieline.com
The French National Order of the Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The Legion award is its highest order of merit for military and civil service to the country. Other well-known individuals previously honored by the Legion include Charlie Chaplin, Jules Verne, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.[1]
Harvey Weinstein was made a knight(chevalier rank) by the Legion of Honor in March 2012 for his work promoting French and other foreign films in the US.
History has proven that no amount of fame or fortune can save one from the humiliation of having an honorary title rescinded. However, at the time of this writing, the French government has stated that they would not prematurely strip any foreigner of this title until that person was criminally convicted.
Interestingly, Lance Armstrong was stripped of his French honors after losing his Tour de France medals due to performance-enhancing drug use.
9
He’s Also Been Honored By The British
In April 2004, Weinstein was awarded an Honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to boosting the popularity of the British film industry. He helped popularize movies such as Shakespeare in Love and My Left Foot.
Questions about whether Weinstein will be stripped of his CBE[2] have been rife since the sexual abuse allegations surfaced. In response, the British prime minister confirmed that they are “concerned by the allegations” but the Forfeiture Committee runs independently of the government.
If Weinstein loses this title, he’ll be in a league with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who lost his honorary knighthood in 2008 due to gross human rights violations.
8
He Supports Roman Polanski
Photo credit: Georges Biard
In February 2017, Listverse published “10 Disturbing Stories About Hollywood’s Pedophile Problem.” Roman Polanski was No. 1 on that list. The awarding-winning filmmaker is infamous for having avoided punishment for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Gailey in 1977.
In September 2009, shortly after Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland, Harvey Weinstein threw his weight behind a petition to prevent Polanski from being extradited to the US to potentially serve 50 years in prison. At the time, The Weinstein Company reached out to Hollywood bigwigs to support Polanski.
Weinstein reportedly called “on every filmmaker . . . to help fix this terrible situation.” The petition garnered the signatures of Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, and more.[3]
In an open letter via The Independent, Weinstein remembered “the incredible love and affection that people have for [Polanski]” and referred to the allegations as “so-called crimes.” With the support of Thierry Fremaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival, Weinstein attempted to have Polanski pardoned by then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In October 2009, however, Schwarzenegger responded somewhat vaguely that he “would not treat [Polanski’s] situation any differently than anyone else. It shouldn’t be treated differently.” Weinstein ended the letter by stating: “Forget about the Seventies era and whether this is excusable—this is a miscarriage of justice, and the government is making him a scapegoat.”
7
He Donates To Charity, But . . .
Photo credit: zimbio.com
Weinstein has long been a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party. In recent times, he’s supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton through charitable donations, television interviews, and events.
You may not know that Weinstein also has an array of charities and causes he passionately supports. They range from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) to the Lebron James Family Foundation. In October 2017, Weinstein also pledged $5 million to a scholarship fund for female filmmakers at the University of Southern California.
In 2015, he was chairman of the amfAR gala, which was embroiled in a scandal after multiple donors and their businesses seemed to be benefiting from donations made to the charity.[4] Items donated for auction came with conditions. Specifically, $600,000 raised at the auction had to be donated to the American Repertory Theater, a nonprofit playhouse.
In the meantime, the theater had completed a trial run of Finding Neverland—produced by none other than Harvey Weinstein. After investigations, multiple board members of amfAR resigned and Weinstein promised to pay $1 million to the charity to smooth things over, including the $600,000 which he’d already repaid.
6
He’s Not Cutting For Fun
Photo credit: The Telegraph
Editing films is par for the course in the industry. No one wants to watch a boring, long-winded film, and it seems that no one is more aware of this than Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein.
When animated Japanese film Princess Mononoke was set for release in the US, Weinstein received a samurai sword from the production team of Hayao Miyazaki. A note attached to the sword simply read: “No cuts.”
When the famous Japanese director met Weinstein in person, Miyazaki was aggressively bombarded with calls to cut the film before releasing it to US audiences. Miyazaki films are now released in two formats in the US: subtitled and dubbed. Miyazaki declared, “I defeated him.”
Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob, have a reputation for pushing their opinions on actors and directors. Granted, their influence has led to multiple successful features. But the number of film flops for the same reason will never truly be known.
Directors like James Gray, Guillermo del Toro, and M. Night Shyamalan have seen potential Oscar-buzzed films dwindle in the hype, allegedly due to the Weinsteins reshooting, delaying, or editing films to such an extent that their final products bear little resemblance to the original ideas.[5]
5
He Won’t Stop Until You’re Dead
Sydney Pollack was an American actor, producer, and director and is famous for films like Out of Africa and Tootsie. One of the last films he co-produced before his death was the Miramax film The Reader with his Mirage business partner, Anthony Minghella. The release of the film was delayed in part by the untimely deaths of its two producers, Minghella in March 2008 and Pollack in May 2008.
Growing impatient for the release of the film, Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein swooped in on Minghella’s grieving widow in an attempt to insert himself into the editorial team and have the film released in time for the Oscars. On his deathbed, Pollack stopped this, only to have Weinstein pestering him until his grief-stricken family stepped in.
Weinstein allegedly denied the claims of harassment and offered $1 million to charity if anyone could prove his callous indiscretions. Reporter Nikki Finke managed to do just that by producing an authentic email from Scott Rudin, the director of The Reader, confirming the actions of Weinstein.
In October 2008, Weinstein donated the promised money to the Robin Hood Foundation, saying, “There’s been enough back-and-forth on this subject. I have nothing but a tremendous amount of respect for Scott Rudin, and it’s time to move on. This is my final statement on this matter.”[6]
4
He Doesn’t Have A Star On The Walk Of Fame
There are more than 2,600 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In February 2017, a star was awarded to Adam Levine of Maroon 5 fame. Famous producers who have been honored on the Walk include five-time Emmy winner Ken Corday of Days of Our Lives, Brett Ratner of The Revenant and Black Mass, and Chuck Lorre of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.
Stars on the Walk are awarded based on a brief application process after being put forward by fans. Due to this simple process, stars are assigned to a multitude of celebrities. For example, Shrek was awarded a star in May 2010.
This begs the question: Why doesn’t Harvey Weinstein have one?
His companies—Miramax and The Weinstein Company—have been hugely successful in the film industry. The movies produced or distributed by Weinstein have been nominated for prestigious awards a total of 341 times, winning 81 times.[7] Perhaps it’s a case of his professional reputation being undermined by his actions behind the scenes.
3
There Have Been Whispers For Years
By now, the 2005 video of Courtney Love’s advice to young starlets about Harvey Weinstein is infamous. Before the foreboding statement, Love mentions concern of potential libel. She was later banned by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for speaking out against Weinstein and has since refused to comment further on the matter.
For years, others in Hollywood have been taking shots more subtly at Weinstein. For example, there were implications by Gwyneth Paltrow about Weinstein’s “coercion” on Letterman in 1998. When Seth MacFarlanepresented the Supporting Actress Oscar in 2013, he ended the announcement of the nominee list by saying, “Congratulations. You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
On October 12, 2017, MacFarlane tweeted about the occasion: “This came from a place of loathing and anger.” Subsequent warnings can be traced back even further, with some allegations occurring as early as 1980.[8]
Perhaps the reason that concrete allegations have been so rare is because preventative measures have been in place at The Weinstein Company for years. The company has its employees sign contracts which prohibit them from speaking out against the company or “any employee’s personal reputation.”
2
His Brother Has Also Been Accused
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times
Perhaps due to the nature of Harvey Weinstein’s current situation, it feels like it was only a matter of time before his brother, Bob Weinstein, was dragged into the mud.
At this stage, there has only been a single accusation by one woman—executive producer Amanda Segel. She claims that Bob repeatedly asked her to dine with him and made sexual overtures. According to Segel, he joked at one stage that “he was her boss and could fire her if she didn’t agree” to see him again.
Bob Weinstein’s lawyer has issued a statement denying all wrongdoing[9] on behalf of his client and has offered emails between the two as proof. Whether other women come forward is still to be determined.
1
The Lannisters Send Their Regards
Photo credit: ew.com
Besides being accused of sexual harassment by a number of famous women like Rose McGowan and Kate Winslet, Harvey Weinstein managed to do the unthinkable. He made Cersei Lannister cry.
Actress Lena Headey—who is known for her fiercely strong characters like Queen Gorgo in 300, Ma-Ma in Dredd, and Queen Cersei in Game of Thrones—discussed her introduction to Harvey Weinstein in a series of tweets on October 17, 2017.
After being propositioned by Weinstein, Headey made it clear that she would never be interested because it would be “like kissing [her] dad!” According to Headey, she rebuffed Weinstein again at a meeting years later when he suggested that they go up to his room to look at a script. Headey made her complete lack of interest clear, which allegedly upset Weinstein.
After a fortuitous mix-up with the hotel room’s key card, he apparently steered her through the hotel toward her car by “grabbing and holding tightly” onto the back of her arm. Weinstein then warned Headey not to tell anybody about what had purportedly transpired. According to Headey, she got into her car and wept.[10]

10 Bizarre Organisms From The Burgess Shale

Around 540 million years ago, there was an explosion which was creative rather than destructive. The “Cambrian explosion” is the term given to this relatively brief period during which organisms evolved into many new varieties.
Many familiar forms of life emerged then, but it was also a time of evolutionary experimentation. Weird body shapes and forms developed. Many went extinct. In the Burgess Shale of Canada, their fossils remain.
This site is scientifically important not only because of its age but because of the types of organisms fossilized there. Most fossils preserve only the hardest parts of an organism, with the soft tissues being lost.
However, the Burgess Shale captured even those most perishable parts of life. The shale formed at the base of an undersea cliff. The sea life was caught and fossilized when mud slid from the cliff above.
Here are 10 of the strangest organisms discovered in the shale.
10
Aysheaia
Aysheaia is a small animal with no hard body parts. Without the amazing preserving conditions present in the Burgess Shale, it is unlikely that we would have any fossil record of this amazing animal. Around 5 centimeters (2 in) in length, it had 10 pairs of stubby little legs which bore small spikes.
For all its small size, Aysheaia was a hunter. Its fossils are often found beside those of sponges, and it is thought that Aysheaia lived on the sponges and hunted for other animals that also called the sponges home. It may also have been using the sponges for protection. As we shall see, there were larger predators prowling the seas 505 million years ago.
This wormlike animal appears to be closely related to a living group of animals. Onychophora (aka velvet worms) today can be found living on land in places scattered across the world. It seems that the descendants of Aysheaia were among the first animals to climb onto the land.[1]
9
Nectocaris
Despite the incredible quality of the Burgess fossils, debates can still swirl around what exactly paleontologists are digging up. A soft-bodied creature buried under tons of mud can be so distorted that its remains have little resemblance to its living form. This is what happened to Nectocaris.
The first look at the only Nectocaris fossil convinced scientists that they were viewing a swimming shrimp (which is what its name means). Others thought that Nectocaris might be more closely related to animals with a backbone. Research now points to it being something altogether stranger.[2]
The discovery of 91 new fossils of Nectocarislet researchers ascertain that they had found the earliest cephalopod, which is an organism like a squid or octopus. The weird projections at the front of Nectocaris are a pair of tentacles. The head also sported a pair of eyes on stalks. Underneath was a cone-shaped projection which was probably used to give a short burst of speed by propelling water out.
8
Marrella
Marrella splendens is perhaps the most gorgeous organism found in the Burgess Shale. The scientists who named it certainly thought so—splendens is Latin for “beautiful.”
Marrella manages to prove that good things come in small packages. This lace crab is only 25 millimeters (1 in) long. The antennae have around 30 segments, and the body has 26. On these complex body parts, large spines were attached. Each body segment has a pair of legs, and each leg has a gill. The animal breathed by kicking its legs.
It is believed that Marrella was either a hunter of smaller organisms or fed on organic particles which drifted to the bottom of the sea where it lived.[3] The most striking aspect of Marrella’s shape, the large curved spikes, probably served to protect it from other animals looking for food. It you cannot fit Marrella in your mouth, then you can’t eat it.
7
Canadia
Fossils of Canadia look somewhat like a feather boa has been caught in soggy mud. It turns out that in life, Canadia probably resembled a swimming feather boa.
This creature was a small bristled worm around 4 centimeters (1.6 in) long. The length of its body was covered in bristles called setae. These were used to help Canadia swim by acting like paddles as it undulated its body.
At the front of the organism are a pair of tentacles that Canadia would have used to explore the world around it. Underneath the head is a proboscis which could be used to take in food.
The proboscis was formed from a part of the gut being pushed out of the organism.[4]Canadia may have been a (quite flamboyant) hunter but probably ate both living and dead animals which came between its tentacles.
Hidden beneath the bristles are short limbs which would have allowed Canadia to creep over the seabed.
6
Pikaia
Say hello to one of your oldest relatives. Pikaia is one of the earliest organisms that scientists have found with a structure like a backbone. This means that Pikaia, or an organism like it, is probably the ancestor of all chordates (animals with a spine), including fish, reptiles, and mammals. The long, eel-shaped body of Pikaia is crossed with muscular bands, which are another feature of chordates.
People often like to boast about their ancestors, but Pikaia is probably not a portrait you would want to hang on your wall. The head has no eyes, merely two tentacle-like structures used for sensing.
While Pikaia was probably swimming in the primordial seas, its gut has been found to contain sediment from the organic matter that was available on the seabed. It is possible that all humanity is descended from a bottom-feeding scavenger. How times have changed.[5]
5
Opabinia
Photo credit: Nobu Tamura
When a modern reconstruction of Opabiniawas first presented at a scientific conference in 1972, it was greeted with laughter. You can see why. It has five eyes on stubby stalks, a fat, flat head, and a long, mobile proboscis poking out of the front.
Due to its bizarre shape, Opabinia had been closely associated with the strange organisms of the Burgess Shale in the public imagination. As it resembled no living creature, scientists found it hard to know where to place it in the tree of life or even guess at how it lived. One idea was that it swam upside down.[6]
The proboscis is four times longer than Opabinia’s head and was highly mobile. Fossils of Opabinia have been found with the appendage at many angles and in many shapes. The end is capped with a pair of clawlike fingers covered in spines to allow it to grasp.
Many creatures probably looked startled to find their death coming from such an odd animal. Opabinia swam using the fins along its body and grabbed up soft prey with its proboscis before pushing them into its waiting mouth.
4
Wiwaxia
We have seen that the primordial seas were swimming in predators. It’s no wonder that evolution soon developed defensive characteristics to allow animals to avoid being eaten.
Wiwaxia looks like a slug, though unlike any that exist today. Debate still rages over whether Wiwaxia is more similar to mollusksor worms, but its life was probably very sluglike.
It would have crawled about the bed of the sea scraping its food from the bacterial mats which covered the ocean floor. Wiwaxia had a mouth hidden on its underside, which had a pair of tough plates that could grind up food.
Except for the bottom, the body of Wiwaxiawas covered in scales and spines. Two rows of spines projected upward from the back. There is no doubt that these were for defense. Their effectiveness can be questioned, though, as many fossils of broken spines and scales have been found. This suggests that predators were able to overcome this deterrent.[7]
3
Ottoia
Ottoia is the most common worm to be found among the Burgess Shale fossils. Studies have linked these creatures to the priapulid worms (aka penis worms). If that is the case, Ottoia is certainly an intimidating member.
Ottoia was about 15 centimeters (6 in) long. At one end was a proboscis, covered with 28 rows of hooks, that Ottoia was able to pull back into its body. This was formed from the worm’s gut and used to pull in food.
The worms are often found in a U-form, which may suggest the shape they took while hidden in their burrows. Ottoia was carnivorous, however, and so would have come out of its burrow to hunt.[8]
One fossil has been found with nine Ottoiafeeding on a dead creature. So well-preserved are some of the Ottoia fossils that it is possible to discern what they last ate. One Ottoia has another Ottoia inside it. These creatures, it seems, were cannibals.
2
Anomalocaris
Scientific progress is not always smooth and easy. Scientists interpret the evidence as best they can. If evidence is fragmentary, then the conclusions reached by scientists can be quite far from the truth. In the end, they get there by reassessing the facts and information they’ve uncovered. Anomalocarisled researchers on a merry dance before they figured out what they had on their hands.
The name Anomalocaris means “unlike other shrimp.” It was called this because the first parts found of Anomalocaris were thought to be the rear portions of shrimp. Other parts were thought to be jellyfish. It was only when larger and more complete fossils were uncovered that it was possible to bring the puzzle together.
Anomalocaris was the largest predator of its day. A complete fossil has been found that is 25 centimeters (10 in) long, but broken parts of other individuals suggest that it could reach up to 1 meter (3 ft) in length.[9]
Its body was suited for freely swimming about in hunt of prey. Those shrimplike fossils turned out to be the grasping appendages on Anomalocaris’s head that captured other organisms. What had been thought to be a jellyfish was actually the creature’s mouth.
1
Hallucigenia
Few animals have done so much to deserve their name as Hallucigenia. Named for its bizarre body shape, this fossil has puzzled many great paleontologists. The fossils of Hallucigenia show an unidentified thing that is 1 centimeter (0.4 in) long with flexible things on one side and a double row of conical spikes on the other.
When first described, it was thought that Hallucigenia walked using those spikes, like a worm on stilts. When the fossils were further explored, it was found that the tentacle-like things on the creature’s back were feet and the “back” of the creature was actually its underside. The spikes were used to protect the tiny organism.[10]
A further mystery was only recently solved. Once researchers figured out which way Hallucigenia walked, it remained to be seen which end was its head and which was its tail.
What had been thought to be its head, a dark mark on the fossil, was actually a stain left by the creature’s guts being squeezed out after death. The head was found on the other end, complete with a pair of eyes and what looked like a cheeky grin.

Top 10 People Who Inspired Iconic Fictional Characters

Sometimes when creating fiction, authors look for inspiration in real life. History has no shortage of captivating figures whose lives (or, at least, parts of them) would make for fascinating stories.
Occasionally, the characters based on them can become even more popular, to the point where people forget that they were inspired by real people. Here are 10 cases where we’ve largely forgotten the individuals who were the basis for iconic fictional characters.
10
Wilhelm Reich
Durand Durand
Photo credit: steemit.com
Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, a student of Sigmund Freud, was a strong believer in the power of sex. Specifically, Reich thought that most of society’s ills could be fixed through regular, satisfying orgasms. He even came up with a new type of energy called orgone, which was the physical representation of the libido. Orgone built up in the body until it was released through sex.
When Reich came to America to escape the Nazis, he built a device called an orgone accumulator which was meant to harness the power of this energy. He even asked Albert Einstein to investigate the machine. Einstein did and, unsurprisingly, refuted Reich’s claims.
But this didn’t decrease his popularity. Reich was a hit with the counterculture generation who approved of his ideas for sexual liberation. Several icons of the era—such as Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Norman Mailer—lauded Reich and his orgone accumulators.
Quite fittingly, Reich was immortalized in the sex sci-fi romp Barbarella as the evil scientist Durand Durand.[1] His orgone accumulator also makes an appearance, except that it is now called the excessive-pleasure machine and its goal is to cause death by orgasm.
9
Louis ‘Red’ Deutsch
Moe Szyslak
Photo credit: jobbiecrew.com
One of the most popular running gags on The Simpsons involves Bart prank-calling Moe’s Tavern. Bart asks for joke names such as “Amanda Hugginkiss” or “Ivana Tinkle,” which Moe promptly shouts throughout the entire bar to the amusement of his patrons. When he realizes he’s been tricked yet again, Moe delivers an angry, threat-filled rant before slamming down the phone.
The gag debuted during the show’s first season in one of Moe Szyslak’s first appearances. However, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening took his inspiration from a series of pranks unofficially known as the Tube Bar prank calls which became popular during the early 1980s.
Two men named Jim Davidson and John Elmo would ring up the Tube Bar in Jersey City and ask to speak with people such as “Al Coholic” or “Pepe Roni.” Like Moe, the owner of the bar was an angry, retired boxer named Louis “Red” Deutsch.[2] When he realized he was being pranked, Red would start swearing and shouting threats at the callers.
Also like Moe, Red never got his hands on his tormentors. But his vulgar rants became popular as cassette recordings of the calls got passed around from person to person.
8
Eugene Chantrelle
Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
Photo credit: murderpedia.org
Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson is best remembered for his gothic classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is a tale of good and evil that illustrates how one person can turn from an upstanding citizen into a monster given the right set of circumstances. According to writer and historian Jeremy Hodges, Stevenson saw that duality of man reveal itself firsthand during the trial of Eugene Chantrelle.
Born in Nantes, Eugene Chantrelle moved to Edinburgh where he taught French. He first met Stevenson through a mutual acquaintance, the author’s former French master, Victor Richon. Afterward, the two bonded when a chance encounter led to a long drinking session in the pub while discussing their mutual love of Moliere. Later, Stevenson was present at Chantrelle’s trial when the teacher was accused of killing his wife.[3]
Eugene Chantrelle married his former pupil, Elizabeth Dyer, in 1877. He took out an insurance policy on her life and poisoned her a year later. Chantrelle was convicted after investigators found traces of opium in Dyer’s vomit. Subsequently, there were allegations that he was responsible for other murders in France and England.
Hodges claimed to have uncovered notes that Stevenson took during the trial. Stevenson described it as a “traumatic experience.” He wrote that he could believe Chantrelle was a heinous criminal were it not for someone who was his “exact counterpart in looks” who was a model of kindness and good conduct.
7
Joseph Bell
Sherlock Holmes
Photo credit: J.M.E. Saxby
Several people were hailed as the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. But the one who lent the detective his trademark implacable reasoning and keen powers of observation was Scottish surgeon Joseph Bell.
Arthur Conan Doyle was Bell’s student at the University of Edinburgh and later worked as his clerk. Doyle got to see up close how Bell emphasized the importance of careful observation when making a diagnosis.
That way, Bell could pick up on all the small details, or “trifles” as he called them, which gave him insight into a stranger’s habits, occupation, and recent activities. This was a technique which would later be regularly employed by Doyle’s detective upon meeting new people.[4]
Doyle made sure to send Bell a copy of each new Sherlock Holmes story that was published. While the surgeon was flattered by the extra praise, he also hoped that people who really knew him didn’t see much of Holmes in him. Bell was tidy, modest, humorous, and kindhearted unlike the detective who regularly displayed callousness and a lack of humor.
Although Joseph Bell was a pioneer of forensic science, he never had much cause to work with the police, unlike Sherlock Holmes. There were several notable exceptions, however, including the Ripper case where Bell provided an analysis. Most noteworthy was the Ardlamont mystery of 1893 where Bell was called to provide expert testimony.
6
Donald Sinclair
Basil Fawlty
Photo credit: The Telegraph
In 1975, a TV show named Fawlty Towersmade its debut on British television to little fanfare. It ended after just 12 episodes, yet it is even now consistently ranked among the greatest British TV programs of all time.
A huge reason for that enduring success was the show’s lead character, hotel manager Basil Fawlty. Played and written by Monty Python member John Cleese, Fawlty was snobbish, misanthropic, and abusive toward his guests and his staff. A lot of praise was heaped on Cleese for conceiving such a character, but he had a little help courtesy of the man who served as the muse for the stuffy hotelier.
His name was Donald Sinclair. After serving in World War II, he managed two hotels in Torquay alongside his wife, Beatrice. The Pythons stayed at his Gleneagles Hotel in 1970 while filming nearby.
Eventually, Sinclair’s eccentric behavior forced all of them to find other accommodations. This excluded John Cleese and his wife, Connie Booth, because, according to him, they “were lazy.”[5] Instead, they stayed behind and got to observe Donald Sinclair in all his glory.
In the decades following his death, Sinclair’s wife claimed that her husband was nothing like Basil Fawlty but others begged to differ. While other Pythons backed up Cleese’s interpretation, former hotel staff also saw plenty of similarities between the two. While Fawlty may have been exaggerated, the real Sinclair was also an ill-tempered, constantly put-upon man who almost resented having guests in the hotel.
5
Eliza Emily Donnithorne
Miss Havisham
Photo credit: smh.com.au
In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens created one of the most enduring tragic characters in English literature in the form of Miss Havisham. A wealthy heiress, she turned into a recluse who always wore her wedding dress after being jilted at the altar.
Several real women have been put forward as potential prototypes for Miss Havisham. As Dickens never revealed his true inspiration, it is impossible to say if any are accurate. However, the one who uncannily mirrored Miss Havisham’s tragic event was Eliza Emily Donnithorne of Sydney, Australia.
Born in 1826, Eliza Donnithorne was the daughter of an East India Company official and inherited most of his estate upon his death. At 31, she was supposed to get married, but her groom never arrived on her wedding day.
Unlike Compeyson in the novel, he wasn’t a swindler but rather was never heard from again. Despaired by this development, Eliza never left her house again, allowing only her servants, doctor, and solicitor to see her.[6]The wedding food was left on the tables to rot, and according to legend, the front door was always left ajar in case the groom might one day return.
The link between Miss Havisham and Miss Donnithorne cannot be proven with certainty, and some even argue that it was established the other way around after the book came out. Even so, the New South Wales Dickens Society believes in the connection and has organized several trips to Eliza’s grave at Camperdown Cemetery.
4
Carlson Brothers
Hanson Brothers
Photo credit: nhl.com
In 1977, Paul Newman starred in the comedy classic Slap Shot. It went on to be praised as one of the best sports movies of all time, and Maxim magazine even named it the “Best Guy Movie of All Time.” The story revolves around a down-and-out minor league hockey team that resorts to a violent play-style to gain popularity.
Key to this new strategy was the Hanson brothers, three players who acted as enforcers and served as the team’s primary muscle. Comically, their violent actions were countered by their nerdy look which included thick, black-rimmed glasses and a penchant for playing with toys. Even more bizarre, they were based on three real hockey players called the Carlson brothers.
This entry is unique in that the real-life models actually played their fictional counterparts. Two of the three Hanson brothers were played by Steve and Jeff Carlson.[7] The third Carlson brother had to bow out of filming because he was called up by the Edmonton Oilers to play in the playoffs in the World Hockey Association.
The Carlson brothers played with the Johnstown Jets alongside Ned Dowd, brother of screenwriter Nancy Dowd. Ned was the one who inspired her to write Slap Shot and to include characters based on the Carlsons. Originally, they were supposed to be played by actors. However, the production team couldn’t find actors who could skate well enough so they decided to cast the real deal instead.
3
Charles Frederick Field
Inspector Bucket
Charles Dickens was a writer who liked to stay up-to-date with bizarre events in England and abroad and often used them as inspiration for his stories. The novel Bleak House revolved around the seemingly interminable court case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce. Dickens mentioned in the preface that he based it on two real cases which, at that time, had been going on for decades and had no end in sight.
The novel’s undaunted Inspector Bucket is also based on a real person—Inspector Charles Frederick Field of Scotland Yard.[8] He joined the Metropolitan Police when it formed in 1829 and later switched to the detective branch.
During that time, he formed a friendship with Charles Dickens, who showed particular interest in the development of London’s police force and was often allowed to tag along during rounds. In turn, Dickens wrote several articles about the detectives for the magazine he edited, Household Words, including an essay titled “On Duty with Inspector Field.”
Field retired in 1852, just in time to enjoy the newfound fame from the serialization of Bleak House. He opened a private detective office and garnered some additional attention a few years later when he worked as an investigator in the case of William Palmer, the Rugeley Poisoner.
2
Al Yeganeh
The Soup Nazi
Photo credit: syracuse.com
Despite appearing in only one episode of Seinfeld, the Soup Nazi remains one of the show’s most well-known and beloved characters. Actor Larry Thomas even earned an Emmy nomination for the role. But curiously, he did not know at the time that it was based on a real person.
The original soup man was named Al Yeganeh. He set up Soup Kitchen International in Midtown Manhattan in 1984. While his restaurant was always in demand, Yeganeh’s popularity skyrocketed after being featured in the classic 1995 Seinfeld episode. Just like his TV show counterpart, the chef became known for his delicious soups made from fresh ingredients and his gruff, even abusive demeanor.
Unsurprisingly, Yeganeh was not amused by the show and has accused Seinfeld of ruining him multiple times. Even so, he managed to open a chain of “Original Soup Man” restaurants and, on occasion, used references to the show to promote his business. More recently, Yeganeh had to file for bankruptcy after his company’s CFO was indicted on federal tax evasion charges.[9]
1
Dave Toschi
The Loose Cannon Cop
Photo credit: Nancy Wong
Every no-nonsense, badass cop portrayed in movies since the 1970s has one man to thank for inspiration—San Francisco PD Inspector Dave Toschi. Joining the department in 1952, Toschi started working Homicide in 1966. Just three years later, he was put in charge of the investigation of the notorious Zodiac Killer.
Around the same time, the silver screen saw the first cop based on Toschi’s gruff and straightforward demeanor—Steve McQueen’s Frank Bullitt. The two had worked together before, and McQueen felt that he had exactly what it takes to make his character stand out. He even copied Toschi’s unique shoulder holster position which he held upside down for a faster draw.
Of course, Toschi’s real brush with fame came when the Zodiac Killer case started making national headlines. A couple of years later, Dirty Harry came out, which was primarily based on the Zodiac. Toschi inspired one of the most iconic characters in cinema history, Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan.
The San Francisco inspector’s latest tangle with Hollywood happened in 2007 when David Fincher released Zodiac. Aiming to show the real investigation behind the case, the film featured Dave Toschi as one of the main characters, played by Mark Ruffalo.
The actor spent time with the retired policeman to nail his look and behavior down to Toschi’s love of bow ties and animal crackers.[10] The film even includes a scene where Toschi goes to see Dirty Harry and becomes angered by Callahan’s “take-no-prisoners” tactics.

10 Unbelievable Stories Of Married People With Secret Families

10 Unbelievable Stories Of Married People With Secret Families

Imagine the shock of finding out that your significant other is not only unfaithful but has been living a double life. To make matters worse, they have a different name, a second wife, kids, a house, and a pet dog that you never knew about. Unless you’re in Vegas, most people walk to the altar thinking they know their true love well. But there have been countless stories of people finding out that their loved ones aren’t who they thought they were.
How do these people pull it off? Why would someone do such a thing? What leads to the truth coming out? The following shows that not everyone takes their marriage vows to heart.
10
King Edward IV’s Alleged Secret Marriages And Children
Photo credit: Wikimedia
King Edward IV is remembered for many things but for mostly his role in the Wars of the Roses. And his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. But there have been many theories that allege that he secretly married another woman before his secret marriage to Woodville.
Historian John Ashdown-Hill was researching King Richard III in the 1990s when he came upon Edward IV’s bigamy. In his book The Private Life of Edward IV, Hill writes that Edward IV secretly married a lady named Eleanor Talbot before his marriage to Woodville. The marriage was acknowledged in an act of parliament in 1484.
Some historians have questioned Eleanor’s existence due to lack of evidence. There’s a similar lack of proof of Edward IV’s other alleged first wife, Elizabeth Lucy. Hill notes that he came upon evidence that clearly shows that Elizabeth Lucy was actually Eleanor Talbot. A picture emerged corroborating their relationship. Edward also gave her land and sent presents to his father-in-law up to her death.[1]
Hill also notes that the Thomas More’s version of history was an attempt by Henry VII to erase Eleanor’s name from the history books. Henry VII initiated the allegation that Richard III (Edward IV’s younger brother and successor) was a usurper when, in fact, he was offered the throne because of Edward VI’s bigamy. This made Edward IV’s children with Elizabeth Woodville illegitimate.
Thus, Elizabeth’s marriage to Edward IV has always been questioned. There are also suggestions that Edward IV had same-sex relationships, multiple mistresses, and illegitimate children. It’s a shame he never wrote a tell-all book, which surely would’ve given Game of Thrones a run for its money.
9
Priest Found Guilty Of Bigamy
Photo credit: Melissa Adams
The last person you’d expect to be living a double life is a priest. How could someone who officiates weddings and listens to couples say the sacred vows do such a thing? Yet, a former priest in Australia pulled just such a deception.
Alec Stevenson, originally from New Zealand, married his first wife in 1962. He walked out on her and their three children and moved to Australia to start a new life. The pair never divorced. Stevenson did, however, get divorced from his second wife, whom he married in 1974. Then, in 2002, he married his third wife. He never told any of the women that he was still married and had children.
During his trial in Canberra in 2014, the court learned that he became a priest after he moved to Australia. He performed several weddings as part of the Liberal Catholic Church, which does not enforce celibacy.[2] He even gave two of his daughters from different mothers exactly the same name.
Stevenson, who represented himself, argued that his actions were an honest or reasonable mistake. According to him, he’s legally a bachelor. The prosecution told the court that the absence of any divorce papers or proceedings should have alerted Stevenson to the contrary.
Magistrate Beth Campbell ruled that Stevenson “deliberately obfuscated the court” and found him guilty of two counts of bigamy. He later got a suspended jail sentence.
8
Serial Bigamist’s Dr. Phil Appearance Saves Another Victim

While watching an episode of Dr. Phil where two women claimed to be married to Ed Hicks, Linda cried out, “My God! That man is dating my sister!” It turned out that Ed was a notorious bigamist who had seven wives at that point. She recognized him when they showed his picture.
Linda immediately called her sister Barbra, who, ironically, was sitting next to Ed when she got the call. With Dr. Phil airing an hour later in her neighborhood, Barbra watched the episode when Ed went out. “I sat there and watched it, and I was so upset that I think I cried just about the whole time,” said Barbara.[3] She couldn’t believe the women on the show were saying that they were married to her boyfriend. Unsurprisingly, Ed had asked her to marry him a week before that.
Barbara immediately called her sister back, and they set Ed up with the authorities. The sisters later appeared on Dr. Phil with his other “wives” to tell their story. They noted that Ed was arrested on bigamy charges and was later sentenced.
7
Almost Married To A Serial Bigamist
Photo credit: Mischele Lewis
Mischele Lewis met an Englishman named Liam Allen who was apparently stationed in the US while working for the Ministry of Defense. They soon fell in love. Mischele got pregnant, and she accepted Liam’s marriage proposal. But when Mischele looked into his wallet, she was shocked by what she found.
Liam Allen’s full name was William Allen Jordan, and a Google search of his name revealed that he was notoriously known. Not only was he a bigamist who defraudedcountless women, but he also pleaded guilty to inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor. She found a book online that his second wife, Mary Turner Thompson, wrote about him called The Bigamist: The True Story of a Husband’s Ultimate Betrayal.
Mischele downloaded the book, read it, and contacted Mary, who told her everything. In the book, Mary wrote of her experiences with William. One day, Mary received a call from a woman who claimed that William, father to Mary’s two children, had been married to her for 14 years. They had five children together. Thompson details how her husband conned her out of £200,000 and had been doing the same to countless women over 27 years.
Mischele alerted the authorities, staying with “Liam” so she could feed them evidence. She stated, “I knew if I cut him out of my life, I’d never catch him, so I told him we could work it out.” Mischele didn’t want him to continue doing the same to other women. William was swiftly arrested, with multiple cases of fraud linked to him.[4]
6
The Creator Of Wonder Woman Was A Man Of Many Secrets
Photo credit: Pinterest
Earlier this year, Gal Gadot starred in the critically acclaimed blockbuster movie Wonder Woman. The credited creator of the original character, William Moulton Marston, deserves a movie of his own for his interesting life. Luckily, a book called The Secret History of Wonder Woman, written by Jill Lepore, exists.[5]
Marston was a man of many talents, being a Harvard graduate, a huckster, a feminist, a psychologist, and the inventor of the lie detector test. Just like superheroes, Marston had a secret life that the public never knew about. He was a polyamorist who had one or two other women living with him and his wife.
He met a student named Olive Bryne while teaching at Tufts. He soon gave his wife an ultimatum: Either Olive lives with them or their marriage is over. He’d tell prying strangers that Olive was his sister-in-law or a blood relative when, in fact, he had children with her beside his wife.
Lepore, a professor of American history at Harvard and a staff writer at The New Yorker, writes in the book that Marston also had a thing for bondage. This explains why Wonder Woman often gets tied up in the comics.

5
Baseball Star Sued For Being A Deadbeat Dad To His Secret Family
Photo credit: Terry Foote
Bartolo Colon is a baseball pitcher with a successful 20-year career. He’s been married to his wife Rosanna for just over 20 years and has four sons with her. In 2015, the New York Post published a story that he was being sued for child support by a different woman.[6]
The woman in question was Alexandra Santos, who claimed that the baseball star, nicknamed “Big Sexy,” fathered her two kids with her, aged seven and eight. She also claims that Colon was a deadbeat dad who failed to pay child support. Colon’s secret family probably would have gone unknown, as both he and Santos signed confidentially agreements. The case was listed as Anonymous v. Anonymous. But Colon outed himself to the world after he represented himself for a time.
Santos’s attorney spoke to the Post, noting that “Mr. Colon obviously is a very talented baseball player and earns a significant incomeand we believe that his children should share in the lifestyle they would have enjoyed had their parents remained together.” Fortunately for Colon, he’s still married to his wife, who is reported to have known about his secret family for a time. Rosanna told the Post that it’s a personal matter that doesn’t want to talk about.
4
King Fahd’s Secret Wife Sues His Family
Photo credit: Hannah McKay/PA
In 2015, ten years after Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd passed, there were multiple headlines about his secret wife and her lawsuits against his family. Janan Harb was born to Christian parents and moved to Jeddah in 1967, where she met Fahd. Although Janan converted to Islam shortly before they secretly married, she was never accepted by his family. She was asked to leave the Kingdom by Fahd’s brother in 1970.
Janan alleges that she stayed in contact with King Fahd until a stroke left him incapacitated in 1995. In sharia law, she remained married to him even though she subsequently married two more times. Janan started running out of money and met with the king’s son from another wife, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd. She told him that she was planning to release an autobiography disclosing all the details of her relationship with the king and the royal household. She was paid £5 million not to publish it.
When Janan ran out of money again, she claims that the prince promised £20 million in cash and properties, which the prince dismissed. In court, Janan was awarded the money, a decision which the prince later successfully appealed.[7]
Janan plans to fight for what she believes she’s owed. She maintains that King Fahd was planning to always take care of her, a wish his family failed to uphold after his death in 2005. She also explains that while she was married to Fahd, she managed to help him with business deals.
3
US Soldier Marries Woman In South Korea While Still Married Back Home
Photo credit: Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee was introduced to the now-retired Master Sergent Scott Fuller in August 2013. He was serving with his unit with the US Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. He seemed like the man of her dreams. An Army sergeant—who’s more honorable than that?
Four months later, they tied the knot, with Fuller wearing a South Korean tunic on their wedding day to show how in love he was. However, the fairy tale soon ended when Fuller returned to the US without a word, leaving Lee with a broken heart and $50,000 in debt.
Fuller’s double life was discovered when he made the not-so-smart decision of submitting documents to have their marriage recognized in Korea. The documents of his Army and US embassy certifications were forgeries. It turned out that Fuller had an American wife named Marianne. When the Army returned Fuller to South Korea, he was found guilty of forgery and sentenced to eight months in prison.
The Army knocked him down a rank to sergeant first class. However, Fuller continued his forgeries, convincing the court that he’d finally divorced his American wife. His sentence was reduced on appeal to a $10,000 fine after he provided Lee and the court with his divorce judgment documents from a New York court.
But Fuller is one tricky fraudster. Lee claims that she later found out from Marianne that the divorce documents were also a forgery. “It’s not just a money matter,” said Lee, “He has broken my heart and my 16-year-old son’s heart.”[8]
2
Man Remarried With A Dead Man’s Identity
One of the more unbelievable stories in recent times features a Zephyrhills, Florida, man named Richard Hoagland. Richard called his wife, Linda Iseler, on February 10, 1993, telling her that he was feeling sick and was headed to the emergency room. He told her that she needn’t come with him and was never seen again. He was later presumed dead. 23 years later, it turned out that not only was Richard alive and well, but he was married with a new identity.
Richard had stolen the identity of Terry Symansky, a man who died in 1991. Richard knew Terry and once lived with him in Palm Beach. Police believe he found Terry’s death certificate and used it to obtain a birth certificate from Ohio, which he used to build a new life.[9] Richard went on to marry Mary Hossler Hickman in 1995 and father her son.
Richard was found out when the real Terry Symansky’s nephew used Ancestry.com to look up his family tree for a family project. Knowing that his uncle had died, the nephew was shocked to find that several years later, Terry had apparently married and gotten a pilot’s license. Out of fear that the imposterwould come after them, the family delayed telling the authorities for three years.
But eventually, they did, and Richard’s ruse came to an end when he was arrested for fraud, among other things. When Richard disappeared back in 1993, he left his wife Linda to take care of two sons, who were six and nine years old at the time. He had divorced before that, with two children from that marriage. Richard told police that he did what he did because Linda wanted a divorce, and he couldn’t face going through that again.
1
Anais Nin Was An Author With Two Husbands
Photo credit: George Leite
Anais Nin was a Cuban-American author who wrote novels, journals, short stories, essays, memoirs, and erotic literature. Her life seemed to be the stuff of fiction, which is probably why she kept a journal from the age of 11 until her death. In a rare case of a woman having two unsuspecting husbands, Anais married her first husband, Hugh Parker Guiler, when she was 17 or 18.
Guiler was a banker whose job took him all over the world. In 1947, Anais and Hugh were living in New York when she met the handsome Rupert Pole in an elevator. As fate would have it, they were both headed to the same cocktail party, where they spent hours talking. She was instantly attracted to him, even though he was 20 years younger.
As one thing led to another, Rupert was under the impression that Anais was divorced, a belief she never corrected. When Rupert moved to the West Coast, Anais went with him, telling her husband that she was going road-tripping with a female friend. Eventually, she gave in to Rupert’s requests for marriage. She maintained two separate lives on the West and East Coasts.
Being a writer definitely helped Anais to live a double life. She’d tell Hugh that she longed for the seclusion of the West Coast, where she could do her writing. She’d tell Rupert that she had to go to the East Coast for meetings with editors and magazine assignments. For 11 years, she’d travel from coast to coast in six-week stretches. Her life in New York was luxurious and well-off. Her life in California was domestic and housewife-like.
Things became so complicated that Anais had to create a “lie box” to keep the charade going. She had a giant purse where she kept two checkbooks with two separate names and prescription bottles from New York and California doctors. Finally, Anais came clean to Rupert after she was diagnosed with cancer, knowing that she’d have to put her affairs in order. She’d become famous from her writing and probably knew the truth would come out, one way or another. She annulled her marriage to Rupert, although they continued to stay together.
Biographer Deirdre Bair notes that Hugh was no dummy and knew what his wife was up to in California.[10] Anais Nin died on January 14, 1977, at the age of 73. After Hugh died, Rupert arranged to have his ashes scattered at the same place Anais’s ashes were.

10 Most Important Missions In NASA’s History JAMES WINTERS OCT

Ever since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created over half a century ago, they’ve launched hundreds of missions into space. From probes that have touched the outer reaches of our solar system to manned capsules that pushed the limits of technology, they’ve done it all.
Some of the most important advances in science, technology, engineering, and math were accomplished as a direct result of the missions talked about below. Here are some of the coolest and most important missions ever launched by NASA.
10
WMAP Satellite
Photo credit: NASA
Did you know that humanity has a baby picture of the early universe?
We can’t get any images from the moment of the big bang. For the first few hundred thousand years of the universe’s life, stuff was just too hot and close together for photons to get anywhere. You could only see a few light-years in any given direction before the vast hydrogen clouds that filled the universe made it impossible to see farther.
However, after about 380,000 years, things cooled down and spread out and the first light was able to escape. This light from the universe’s infancy falls to Earth from every direction in the sky. It shows us the universe at its earliest stages and is known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation.
Since its discovery, scientists have wanted to map out the CMB’s hot and cold spots to see if they matched the experts’ predictions. That data didn’t exist until a few decades ago. Even then, it wasn’t until NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) was launched that scientists had a good HD image of the radiation.[1]
The results from the probe matched predictions and confirmed that the universe was almost completely uniform in temperature over 14 billion years ago. It’s amazing that we have this kind of information about something that existed so long ago.
The satellite was launched on June 30, 2001, at 3:46 PM EDT aboard the Delta II-7425-10 launch vehicle. In April 2002, WMAP completed its first observation of the CMB. In February 2003, the first high-resolution images of the CMB and papers analyzing the results were released.
WMAP research papers are among the most used and cited in the history of space science.
9
Viking I And II
Photo credit: NASA
Before 1976, the United States had never successfully landed a probe on another planet. Parachutes and similar items often failed, and the million-dollar machines sent to the “Red Planet” tended to smash into the surface while traveling at thousands of miles an hour.
It’s hard enough to get something to orbit the Earth. It’s even more difficult to leave Earth orbit, get into orbit around another celestial body, and then successfully land on that planet. Nonetheless, this feat of engineering was accomplished by the Viking probes.
The twin vehicles were launched within a month of each other on Titan IIIE/Centaur rockets, and the probes came in an orbiter/lander pair. Part of the vehicle was to stay in orbit around Mars, and the other part was to land on the surface.[2]
Based on what we observed from Earth, scientists thought that life shouldn’t be able to exist on Mars. However, we had never landed there, so scientists didn’t really know one way or the other. They were proven right when the Viking probes sent back the first images and experiment results to NASA. The probes found no evidence of little green men or any microbial life.
8
Friendship 7
Photo credit: NASA
By early 1962, the United States had just over 30 minutes of experience in space and the clock counting down to the end of the decade was ticking away. The US had never sent a man into orbit, an absolutely critical part of getting men to the Moon and beating the Soviets. That was to change with the launch of Friendship 7, the third US Mercury mission.
Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn, a military test pilot, was chosen to fly the new Atlas rocket into orbit around Earth. The rocket took off on February 20, 1962, successfully entering Earth orbit for almost five hours. He safely landed about 1,300 kilometers (800 mi) south of Bermuda.
The mission’s goals of testing out the new rocket, learning how to orbit the Earth, and proving that man could perform in space were successful.[3]
7
Gemini IV
Photo credit: NASA James McDivitt
While the Mercury missions taught us the basics of orbit, the Gemini missions showed us the techniques needed to go to the Moon. One of the most important activities on the Moon was spacewalking, leaving the capsule and going out into the vacuum of space. As this had never been attempted by the US, it was absolutely critical to practice before trying it on the Moon.
Edward H. White II, a USAF test pilot, was chosen to become the first American in space. He and crewmate James McDivitt launched on June 3, 1965, on a Titan II rocket. White’s spacewalk lasted 36 minutes and went without much incident.[4]
The mission’s goals of evaluating the long-term effects of spaceflight (the mission lasted four days) and performing a space walk were successful. However, the capsule did land about 80 kilometers (50 mi) off target. (The astronauts forgot that the Earthwas spinning under them when they performed reentry equations.)
6
STS-1
Photo credit: NASA
After the success of the Apollo program, NASA was looking for its next big thing. That thing was the space shuttle, a reusable spacecraft that landed like a glider and took off like a rocket. This vehicle would carry experiments and satellites into orbit and could remain in space for weeks. Several shuttles were to be constructed, with Columbia the first to be flight-tested.
Taking off on April 12, 1981, and piloted by John Young and Robert L. Crippen, the massive rocket ascended to an orbit of 166 nautical miles.[5] The mission lasted two days and six hours, thoroughly testing out the ship’s systems.
It glided down to a landing on Edwards Air Force Base in California. Back then, the shuttle and its tank were painted white instead of using the iconic black, white, and orange. (The orange came from the color of the tank’s now-unpainted insulating foam, which reduced weight by about 270 kilograms (600 lb).)
5
The ISS Missions
Photo credit: NASA/Crew of STS-132
The International Space Station (ISS) is a major symbol of international cooperation. With the Sovi . . . er . . . Russians delivering the first module in the late 1990s, it was under construction for over a decade.
NASA space shuttles were a key element in the construction of the station, lifting astronauts and construction parts from around the world into orbit to work on the station. The first crews started arriving in the early 2000s. NASA also played a crucial role in the research and development of parts and construction techniques here on Earth.[6]
The ISS is currently orbiting at an altitude of over 350 kilometers (220 mi) and is traveling at over 8 kilometers per second (5 mps). As of the writing of this article, two Americans and one Russian are aboard the station.
4
Voyager I And II
Photo credit: NASA/JPL
Launched in late summer 1977 aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket, the Voyager probes were destined for a rendezvous with the four unexplored giant planets in the outer solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. The probes explored these planets over the course of a decade.
Currently, Voyager I is in interstellar space and Voyager II is in the heliosheath. The heliosheath is the outer area of the heliosphere, a bubble around the planets created by the solar wind. At a distance of over 20 billion kilometers (12 billion mi) from Earth, Voyager I is the most distant man-made object in history.
Both probes were outfitted with a phonograph record that carries a message from Earth to any alien civilization that may intercept the spacecraft, as they will likely survive for billions of years traveling through interstellar space.[7] The probes are still transmitting data all these years later. But they will likely soon cease to do so as they go farther and farther from Earth.
3
Curiosity
Photo credit: NASA
Launched on an Atlas V rocket in late 2011, the Martian rover Curiosity carried some of the most advanced (and most expensive) scientific instruments and systems ever constructed.
The rover successfully landed in August 2012 with the help of an innovative landing system. Curiosity descended with a parachute. Just before touchdown, the parachute was released and the rover landed with the help of rockets.[8]
The goal of the rover is to follow up on the Viking missions and determine if Mars ever had the proper conditions for microbial life to exist. Curiosity has found some evidence that Mars may have once harbored microscopiclife, but the experiment is ongoing.
2
Apollo 8
Photo credit: NASA/Bill Anders
President John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s was running out of time. With just over a year left until the turn of the decade, NASA was moving at a blistering pace.
Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth orbit and head for the Moon. If they missed, they would have kept floating off into space forever. If they got too close, they would have smashed into the Moon traveling at several kilometers per second.
The mission was launched on December 21, 1968, aboard the most powerful rocket ever constructed—the Saturn V. Apollo 8 successfully entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968. Famously, the crew hosted a holiday TV broadcast in lunar orbit as the Earth was rising over the Moon. It was transmitted live to all continents on Earth.[9]
After the 10th lunar orbit, Apollo 8 set its course for home and successfully landed in the Pacific Ocean on December 27.
1
Apollo 11
Photo credit: NASA
Arguably the greatest feat of human technology in world history, the 1969 Moon landing by Apollo 11 is by far the best-known and most monumental NASA mission. The mission launched on July 16, 1969, with a crew consisting of Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong. The launch and lunar orbital insertion were executed without flaw and were witnessed by hundreds of millions of people on live TV.
The craft came in two parts: Columbia, the command module that would stay in orbit around the Moon and ferry the men back home to Earth, and Eagle, the lunar modulethat would land on the Moon. The descent to the Moon’s surface occurred on July 20.
With over 500 million people on Earth watching the event on TV, Armstrong was in charge of landing the Eagle on the lunar surface. The descent was tricky because the planned landing site was filled with large rocks. It was a dangerous spot for a touchdown.
Armstrong had just seconds of fuel to spare when he set the lunar module on the surface of the Moon about 6.4 kilometers (4 mi) away from the planned landing spot. When he turned off the engine and the craft settled into the lunar dust, Armstrong uttered the famous words, “The Eagle has landed.”[10]
Over the course of several lunar excursions, the two men collected rocks, performed experiments, talked to the president, and famously planted and saluted the US flag. In total, they spent over 20 hours walking on the Moon.
Their craft returned successfully to Earth several days later, having laid the groundwork for five more lunar missions in the near future.

10 Crazy Newly Discovered Living Animal Species

Our world is full of life. Through billions of years of planetary change, much of what is alive today didn’t exist during different stages of Earth’s structural evolution. Continental plates have shifted, while ice ages and meteor strikes (think dinosaurs) have forever altered the scope of what lives and breathes on our planet. There are literally millions of unique species on Earth.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus developed the architecture for our modern system of binomial nomenclature, the naming of species using Latin grammar, which places an animal’s genus and then species in its formal name. Today, the field of identifying and organizing species is just as alive as ever. You’d be shocked at the animal life that has existed beside us for years without recognition. Below, we highlight ten shocking species living on our planet that were just found just within the last several years.
Featured image credit: Peter Kirk
10
Game Of Thrones Ants
Pheidole Viserion And Pheidole Drogon
Photo credit: OISTMasako Ogasawara
Ants are one of the most ubiquitous creatures to inhabit our planet. A pesky insect with more than 12,000 individual species, ants have found a home on every continent except for Antarctica. All ants share a common morphology, consisting of a three-part body: the head, thorax, and abdomen. Ants live in colonies, ranging in size from several dozen to millions. Colonies consist of reproducing queens, which can live 30 years.
Ants make up an impressive portion of Earth’s biomass, so it’s no surprise that two new species of ants weren’t known to researchers until this year. These new species, Pheidole viserion (left above) and Pheidole drogon(right above), are members of the Pheidolegenus, a common one that can be found throughout the planet.[1] Yet, while these ants are known for their relatively large heads, P. viserion and P. drogon also sport impressive spikes on their backside. Researchers decided these spikes were like those found on dragons from the popular show Game of Thrones. The ants were observed in New Guinea, the second-largest island in the world, a tropical ecosystem of incredible biodiversity.
9
Pretty In Pink
Eulophophyllum Kirki
Photo credit: Peter Kirk
The Smithsonian reports that there are 200 million insects on Earth for every human, so it’s not all that surprising that insectsdominate the field of newly discovered members of the animal kingdom. Since we’ve highlighted the finds on New Guinea, we’re going to jump to nearby Borneo, the world’s third-largest island and home to parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, with the nation of Brunei occupying a minuscule slice of the island.
Eulophophyllum kirki was an accidental discovery, found while researchers were on the hunt for snakes and spiders across Borneo. This species of katydid is unique for the pinkish hue of their females. The E. kirkifemale was spotted in a Malaysian nature reserve, but no specimens were collected for further research, as the scientists could not obtain collecting permits.[2] The katydid’s name is derived from the man who photographed it, Peter Kirk. It measures approximately 4 centimeters (1.6 in) and mimics leaves to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings. For the female, this means its extraordinary pink backside is lined with “veins” resembling those from nearby trees.
8
The ‘Sorting Hat’ Spider
Eriovixia Gryffindori
Photo credit: Twitter/Javed Ahmed
One of the perks of discovering a new and rare animal species is being granted naming rights. Many researchers may insert their own name into the animal’s species identifier, but as we’ve seen, it’s also common for scientists to give pop culture a nod when naming species. This is the case with the newly discovered Eriovixia gryffindori, a spider found in India’s southwestern state of Karnataka. The spider’s shape, from its brownish hue to its curvature at the top, resembles the sorting hat from the Harry Potter movies.[3] After looking for ourselves, we are inclined to agree, and author J.K. Rowling even tweeted out her congratulations to the researchers after their find.
The spider is part of the Eriovixia genus, part of the Araneidae family, which consists of orb-weaver spiders, known for spinning webs with circular weaves. E. gryffindori measures in at just 7 millimeters, which helps explain how it eluded discovery for so long. The spider is nocturnal, and like the pink katydids, it is a master of mimicry, blending in with dead foliage to avoid predators.
7
The Casanova Millipede
Illacme Tobini
Of the many types of arthropods on the planet, centipedes and millipedes have a higher “yuck” factor than most. You may be surprised to learn that not a single species of millipede has 1,000 legs. Most millipede species belong to the order Polydesmida and sport 62 legs. The record-setting number of legs for a millipede species is 750, held by Illacme plenipes. For Illacme tobini, we’re going stateside, as it was discovered in California’s Sequoia National Park.
I. tobini has several features that will make you squirm, but we’ll start with the one responsible for the “casanova millipede” description. This creature has four penises, which double as legs to help it move about underground. I. tobini has 414 legs, much higher than the average for a millipede. When it was discovered, it was preserved in ethanol for later DNA research, which revealed it to be a close relative of I. plenipes.[4] I. tobini has 200 poison glands, excreting a novel substance not otherwise described in scientific research. The one thing this creature doesn’t have an abnormally high number of is eyes; it’s completely blind. This quirky package is wrapped up in thin hairs that secrete a silky residue, unique from its poison, making it decisively one of the strangest entries on this list.
6
The Polka-Dot Stingray
Potamotrygon Rex
Photo credit: Marcelo R. de Carvalho
Freshwater stingrays can be found in a number of tropical regions around the world. Several species of freshwater stingray, belonging to the genus Potamotrygon, live in the rivers of South America. Stingrays have barbed stingers which they use for protection, but luckily, they’re generally adverse to conflict. They don’t seek out humans to attack, though there are cases where people have had lethal run-ins. Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter,” was killed by an ocean stingray’s barb going through his chest in September 2006.

Potamotrygon rex was discovered in Brazil’s Tocantins River. The Tocantins is a petri dish of exotic life; 35 percent of fish species found in the river can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.[5] P. rex is an impressive 1.1 meters (3.6 ft) long and can weigh upwards of 20 kilograms (44 lb). (A juvenile is pictured above.) The stingray is colored with blackish-brown hues, spotted by striking circles of yellow and orange. These features led to its eventual naming of rex, Latin for “king.” Scientists have noted that the discovery of a relatively large specimen underscores just how much more we have to learn about the Neotropical realm, one of the planet’s eight biogeographic realms, which includes much of Central and all of South America.

5
The Furry Forager
Gracilimus Radix
Our next entry brings us back to the South Pacific, this time to the island of Sulawesi, slightly east of Borneo. Sulawesi is a heavily populated island, part of Indonesia and home to an abundant variety of wildlife. This includes Gracilimus radix, a new species of rat found on the island.
G. radix, aka the “slender root rat,” is a fascinating find for several reasons. First, it’s a mammal. While the discovery of new insects or amphibians is relatively common, scientists come across new mammal species much less frequently. Secondly, the newly described rodent demonstrated enough novel qualities to denote not just a new species but also a new genus, a higher level of taxonomical distinction. Finally, G. radix is an omnivore, unlike its closer carnivore relatives. This means it evolved from a dietary specialist back to a dietary generalist, an uncommon adaptation for any creature.[6]
The rat measures 30 centimeters (12 in) with a weight of approximately 40 grams, showing off an elaborate array of whiskers that most likely help it scour the forest floor. The discovery of such a species points to the many creatures on Sulawesi, and other islands, still waiting to be found.
4
The River Rider
Inia Araguaiaensis
Many entries on this list are captivating, but the documentation of new insect or fish species may not be too surprising. What may shock you, though, is the recent discovery of a new species of dolphin. All dolphins are mammals and among the most intelligent creatures on the planet. They’re highly social and altruistic and live in pods with their peers. There are also a number of dolphin species that live in rivers. River dolphins have long, thin snouts and are slower swimmers with poorer vision compared to their oceanic counterparts.
River dolphins are rare, which makes the discovery of Inia araguaiaensis even more astonishing. It marks the first new documentation of a river dolphin species in a century. Three of the world’s four species of river dolphin are listed as threatened, further highlighting the need to protect I. araguaiaensis. River dolphins, often called botos, exist throughout the Amazon Basin, yet this new species was sufficiently separated from other botos by a sequence of rapids and canals. I. araguaiaensis was found in Brazil’sAraguaia River Basin, and thorough physiological and genetic testing determined it to be a species separate from other botos.[7]The magnitude of genetic variation suggests that the dolphin diverged from a common ancestor approximately two million years ago.
3
Jack Of All Trades: Centipede Edition
Scolopendra Cataracta
If you thought you were safe from creepy-crawly critters after the listing of a 414-leg millipede, you were mistaken. Our next entrant, Scolopendra cataracta, was found in Southeast Asia and offers a pretty big “yuck” factor. Entomologists could categorize the new species based on only four collected specimens: two in Laos, one in Thailand, and a misidentified centipede found in Vietnam in 1928 that sat idle in the Natural History Museum in London.[8]
This new species is the first centipede ever discovered to be amphibious, hunting in both land and water. That’s right, S. cataracta is a carnivore and can potentially reach almost 20 centimeters (8 in) in length. Centipedes are venomous, and the bigger the centipede, the more painful its bite. That means you’ll want to stay far away from this particularly large creepy-crawly. Its bite won’t kill you, probably, but it will be painful and could potentially sting for weeks. Scientists believe S. cataractastretches its legs, and its appetite, at night, hunting beneath the water, something to keep an eye out for if you find yourself swimming in the far corners of the world.
2
Darling Of The Deep
Plenaster Craigi
Our next addition to the list is a creature you probably won’t come across in your lifetime. You may be surprised to learn it’s even an animal at all. Plenaster craigi is a new species of sponge found more than 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. There are 15,000 species of sponge, one of the earliest animal life-forms on the planet, dating back more than 500 million years. Scientists have found that not only do sponges share a primitive common ancestor with other animals, but they also demonstrate immune systems and coordinated movement, putting them squarely in the animal category.
Two expeditions to the depths of the Pacific, in 2013 and 2015, yielded the discovery of P. craigi.[9] It was found in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a large stretch of the Pacific ranging roughly from Hawaii to Mexico. The sponges are tiny, yet they are also ubiquitous. Scientific inquiry suggests they are among the most common creatures at their depths. They live on metal-rich nodules that are viewed as potential havens for future deep-sea mining. P. craigi, which is not just a new species but also comprises a new genus, shows us just how much we have to learn about life deep below our ocean’s surface.
1
Going Batty
Myotis Attenboroughi
Photo credit: R. Moratelli et al.
In the study and differentiation of species, taxonomists have often grouped seemingly similar animals together when, in fact, they can constitute their own species. This was the case with our list’s final entrant, named Myotis attenboroughi, paying homage to British naturalist David Attenborough.[10]
M. attenbouroughi is a species of bat found on the island of Tobago, part of the Caribbeannation of Trinidad and Tobago. Scientists examined museum records of 377 Caribbean bat specimens and were able to parse out a new species that demonstrated significant physiologic and genetic differentiation. Further field research will be necessary to determine if M. attenbouroughi is found on both islands of the nation. But what this finding can already cement is that new species are sometimes right under our noses, just waiting to be identified.

10 Crazy Newly Discovered Living Animal Species

Our world is full of life. Through billions of years of planetary change, much of what is alive today didn’t exist during different stages of Earth’s structural evolution. Continental plates have shifted, while ice ages and meteor strikes (think dinosaurs) have forever altered the scope of what lives and breathes on our planet. There are literally millions of unique species on Earth.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus developed the architecture for our modern system of binomial nomenclature, the naming of species using Latin grammar, which places an animal’s genus and then species in its formal name. Today, the field of identifying and organizing species is just as alive as ever. You’d be shocked at the animal life that has existed beside us for years without recognition. Below, we highlight ten shocking species living on our planet that were just found just within the last several years.
Featured image credit: Peter Kirk
10
Game Of Thrones Ants
Pheidole Viserion And Pheidole Drogon
Photo credit: OISTMasako Ogasawara
Ants are one of the most ubiquitous creatures to inhabit our planet. A pesky insect with more than 12,000 individual species, ants have found a home on every continent except for Antarctica. All ants share a common morphology, consisting of a three-part body: the head, thorax, and abdomen. Ants live in colonies, ranging in size from several dozen to millions. Colonies consist of reproducing queens, which can live 30 years.
Ants make up an impressive portion of Earth’s biomass, so it’s no surprise that two new species of ants weren’t known to researchers until this year. These new species, Pheidole viserion (left above) and Pheidole drogon(right above), are members of the Pheidolegenus, a common one that can be found throughout the planet.[1] Yet, while these ants are known for their relatively large heads, P. viserion and P. drogon also sport impressive spikes on their backside. Researchers decided these spikes were like those found on dragons from the popular show Game of Thrones. The ants were observed in New Guinea, the second-largest island in the world, a tropical ecosystem of incredible biodiversity.
9
Pretty In Pink
Eulophophyllum Kirki
Photo credit: Peter Kirk
The Smithsonian reports that there are 200 million insects on Earth for every human, so it’s not all that surprising that insectsdominate the field of newly discovered members of the animal kingdom. Since we’ve highlighted the finds on New Guinea, we’re going to jump to nearby Borneo, the world’s third-largest island and home to parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, with the nation of Brunei occupying a minuscule slice of the island.
Eulophophyllum kirki was an accidental discovery, found while researchers were on the hunt for snakes and spiders across Borneo. This species of katydid is unique for the pinkish hue of their females. The E. kirkifemale was spotted in a Malaysian nature reserve, but no specimens were collected for further research, as the scientists could not obtain collecting permits.[2] The katydid’s name is derived from the man who photographed it, Peter Kirk. It measures approximately 4 centimeters (1.6 in) and mimics leaves to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings. For the female, this means its extraordinary pink backside is lined with “veins” resembling those from nearby trees.
8
The ‘Sorting Hat’ Spider
Eriovixia Gryffindori
Photo credit: Twitter/Javed Ahmed
One of the perks of discovering a new and rare animal species is being granted naming rights. Many researchers may insert their own name into the animal’s species identifier, but as we’ve seen, it’s also common for scientists to give pop culture a nod when naming species. This is the case with the newly discovered Eriovixia gryffindori, a spider found in India’s southwestern state of Karnataka. The spider’s shape, from its brownish hue to its curvature at the top, resembles the sorting hat from the Harry Potter movies.[3] After looking for ourselves, we are inclined to agree, and author J.K. Rowling even tweeted out her congratulations to the researchers after their find.
The spider is part of the Eriovixia genus, part of the Araneidae family, which consists of orb-weaver spiders, known for spinning webs with circular weaves. E. gryffindori measures in at just 7 millimeters, which helps explain how it eluded discovery for so long. The spider is nocturnal, and like the pink katydids, it is a master of mimicry, blending in with dead foliage to avoid predators.
7
The Casanova Millipede
Illacme Tobini
Of the many types of arthropods on the planet, centipedes and millipedes have a higher “yuck” factor than most. You may be surprised to learn that not a single species of millipede has 1,000 legs. Most millipede species belong to the order Polydesmida and sport 62 legs. The record-setting number of legs for a millipede species is 750, held by Illacme plenipes. For Illacme tobini, we’re going stateside, as it was discovered in California’s Sequoia National Park.
I. tobini has several features that will make you squirm, but we’ll start with the one responsible for the “casanova millipede” description. This creature has four penises, which double as legs to help it move about underground. I. tobini has 414 legs, much higher than the average for a millipede. When it was discovered, it was preserved in ethanol for later DNA research, which revealed it to be a close relative of I. plenipes.[4] I. tobini has 200 poison glands, excreting a novel substance not otherwise described in scientific research. The one thing this creature doesn’t have an abnormally high number of is eyes; it’s completely blind. This quirky package is wrapped up in thin hairs that secrete a silky residue, unique from its poison, making it decisively one of the strangest entries on this list.
6
The Polka-Dot Stingray
Potamotrygon Rex
Photo credit: Marcelo R. de Carvalho
Freshwater stingrays can be found in a number of tropical regions around the world. Several species of freshwater stingray, belonging to the genus Potamotrygon, live in the rivers of South America. Stingrays have barbed stingers which they use for protection, but luckily, they’re generally adverse to conflict. They don’t seek out humans to attack, though there are cases where people have had lethal run-ins. Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter,” was killed by an ocean stingray’s barb going through his chest in September 2006.
Potamotrygon rex was discovered in Brazil’s Tocantins River. The Tocantins is a petri dish of exotic life; 35 percent of fish species found in the river can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.[5] P. rex is an impressive 1.1 meters (3.6 ft) long and can weigh upwards of 20 kilograms (44 lb). (A juvenile is pictured above.) The stingray is colored with blackish-brown hues, spotted by striking circles of yellow and orange. These features led to its eventual naming of rex, Latin for “king.” Scientists have noted that the discovery of a relatively large specimen underscores just how much more we have to learn about the Neotropical realm, one of the planet’s eight biogeographic realms, which includes much of Central and all of South America.

5
The Furry Forager
Gracilimus Radix
Our next entry brings us back to the South Pacific, this time to the island of Sulawesi, slightly east of Borneo. Sulawesi is a heavily populated island, part of Indonesia and home to an abundant variety of wildlife. This includes Gracilimus radix, a new species of rat found on the island.
G. radix, aka the “slender root rat,” is a fascinating find for several reasons. First, it’s a mammal. While the discovery of new insects or amphibians is relatively common, scientists come across new mammal species much less frequently. Secondly, the newly described rodent demonstrated enough novel qualities to denote not just a new species but also a new genus, a higher level of taxonomical distinction. Finally, G. radix is an omnivore, unlike its closer carnivore relatives. This means it evolved from a dietary specialist back to a dietary generalist, an uncommon adaptation for any creature.[6]
The rat measures 30 centimeters (12 in) with a weight of approximately 40 grams, showing off an elaborate array of whiskers that most likely help it scour the forest floor. The discovery of such a species points to the many creatures on Sulawesi, and other islands, still waiting to be found.
4
The River Rider
Inia Araguaiaensis
Many entries on this list are captivating, but the documentation of new insect or fish species may not be too surprising. What may shock you, though, is the recent discovery of a new species of dolphin. All dolphins are mammals and among the most intelligent creatures on the planet. They’re highly social and altruistic and live in pods with their peers. There are also a number of dolphin species that live in rivers. River dolphins have long, thin snouts and are slower swimmers with poorer vision compared to their oceanic counterparts.
River dolphins are rare, which makes the discovery of Inia araguaiaensis even more astonishing. It marks the first new documentation of a river dolphin species in a century. Three of the world’s four species of river dolphin are listed as threatened, further highlighting the need to protect I. araguaiaensis. River dolphins, often called botos, exist throughout the Amazon Basin, yet this new species was sufficiently separated from other botos by a sequence of rapids and canals. I. araguaiaensis was found in Brazil’sAraguaia River Basin, and thorough physiological and genetic testing determined it to be a species separate from other botos.[7]The magnitude of genetic variation suggests that the dolphin diverged from a common ancestor approximately two million years ago.
3
Jack Of All Trades: Centipede Edition
Scolopendra Cataracta
If you thought you were safe from creepy-crawly critters after the listing of a 414-leg millipede, you were mistaken. Our next entrant, Scolopendra cataracta, was found in Southeast Asia and offers a pretty big “yuck” factor. Entomologists could categorize the new species based on only four collected specimens: two in Laos, one in Thailand, and a misidentified centipede found in Vietnam in 1928 that sat idle in the Natural History Museum in London.[8]
This new species is the first centipede ever discovered to be amphibious, hunting in both land and water. That’s right, S. cataracta is a carnivore and can potentially reach almost 20 centimeters (8 in) in length. Centipedes are venomous, and the bigger the centipede, the more painful its bite. That means you’ll want to stay far away from this particularly large creepy-crawly. Its bite won’t kill you, probably, but it will be painful and could potentially sting for weeks. Scientists believe S. cataractastretches its legs, and its appetite, at night, hunting beneath the water, something to keep an eye out for if you find yourself swimming in the far corners of the world.
2
Darling Of The Deep
Plenaster Craigi
Our next addition to the list is a creature you probably won’t come across in your lifetime. You may be surprised to learn it’s even an animal at all. Plenaster craigi is a new species of sponge found more than 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. There are 15,000 species of sponge, one of the earliest animal life-forms on the planet, dating back more than 500 million years. Scientists have found that not only do sponges share a primitive common ancestor with other animals, but they also demonstrate immune systems and coordinated movement, putting them squarely in the animal category.
Two expeditions to the depths of the Pacific, in 2013 and 2015, yielded the discovery of P. craigi.[9] It was found in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a large stretch of the Pacific ranging roughly from Hawaii to Mexico. The sponges are tiny, yet they are also ubiquitous. Scientific inquiry suggests they are among the most common creatures at their depths. They live on metal-rich nodules that are viewed as potential havens for future deep-sea mining. P. craigi, which is not just a new species but also comprises a new genus, shows us just how much we have to learn about life deep below our ocean’s surface.
1
Going Batty
Myotis Attenboroughi
Photo credit: R. Moratelli et al.
In the study and differentiation of species, taxonomists have often grouped seemingly similar animals together when, in fact, they can constitute their own species. This was the case with our list’s final entrant, named Myotis attenboroughi, paying homage to British naturalist David Attenborough.[10]
M. attenbouroughi is a species of bat found on the island of Tobago, part of the Caribbeannation of Trinidad and Tobago. Scientists examined museum records of 377 Caribbean bat specimens and were able to parse out a new species that demonstrated significant physiologic and genetic differentiation. Further field research will be necessary to determine if M. attenbouroughi is found on both islands of the nation. But what this finding can already cement is that new species are sometimes right under our noses, just waiting to be identified.

10 Medieval Tales Of The Devil

To Europeans in the Middle Ages, the Devilwas a very real presence in the world. Every week, they would hear that hell was a possible eternal destination for their souls and that the Devil would rest at nothing to claw them down to the pit.
Tales of the enemy’s behavior spread so that people would be better able to combat his wiles. Here are 10 of the most diabolical satanic narratives from medieval Europe.
Featured image credit: realworldfatos.blogspot.com
10
The Devil And The Jumping Boys
Photo credit: bedfordtoday.co.uk
In the English village of Marston Moretaine, there is a mysterious standing stone known locally as the Devil’s stone. The origins of the stone are lost to history, but folklore provides us with the tale of how it got its name.
The village church has a peculiar structure with the bell tower a little distance from the main body of the church. This unusual state of affairs occurred when the Devil, for some unknown reason, attempted to carry off the tower.
Finding it too heavy, he dropped the tower in its current location. Unhappy that his mischief for the day was ruined, he cast his eyes about for some new sport and found it in the shape of three boys playing a game of leapfrog. It being the Sabbath, all such sports were banned. So the Devil decided to take his due.[1]
The boys were taking turns jumping over a standing stone—the very one which would soon become the Devil’s stone. The Devil challenged the boys to leap over him as he stood on the stone. Wanting to prove their prowess, the foolhardy boys each hopped over the Devil without waiting to see how the others had done.
On the other side of the Devil and the stone was a hole in the ground leading straight to hell. The boys had plunged into this hole. Old maps show that buildings near the stone were given the name “The Three Jumps” in remembrance of the unlucky leaps of the three boys.
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St. Anthony vs. The Devil
Photo credit: aleteia.org
St. Anthony was born to wealthy parents. But he decided to give up all he had and retire into the desert to live a life of holy contemplation. The Devil was not going to let St. Anthony escape the temptations of the world.
The Devil plagued the would-be saint with laziness, boredom, and the tempting images of women. St. Anthony battled these with evermore intense prayer. Annoyed by how resistant his opponent was to mental attacks, the Devil turned to physically battering Anthony with a regiment of lesser demons until he fell unconscious.[2]
St. Anthony was rescued by a friend and returned to health before seeking seclusion again. The Devil saw that physical threats would not work, so he sent legions of ghouls in the shape of wild beasts that made as if to tear the saint apart. He hoped terror would drive Anthony back into the city.
St. Anthony merely laughed at the Devil and his scores of scary ghosts. “If any of you have any authority over me, only one would have been sufficient to fight me,” declared St. Anthony.
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Jack O’Kent
Photo credit: spookyisles.com
Fiction is always quick to point out that a deal with the Devil is usually a terrible idea. Not all folktales bear this out, however. Jack O’Kent is one man who always seemed to come out on top in his dealings with Beelzebub.
Apparently, traveling magician Jack O’Kent made several diabolical deals. In one adventure, he offered the Devil a share of a herd of pigs. To decide who got which pigs, they split the animals according to their tails. Jack got the pigs with curly tails, and the Devil took those with straight tails.
Happy with the division, the Devil waited for his delivery, only to find that Jack had marched the pigs through a stream whose cold water twisted all the pigs’ tails.[3] In another story, the Devil wanted half of Jack’s crop of wheat. Jack paid his debt with the bottom half, leaving the grain for himself. Enraged, the Devil demanded the top half of next year’s crop. Jack promptly planted turnips.
After years of being beaten, the Devil had had enough. He swore to take Jack to hell “whether he was buried inside or outside the church.” Jack had the last laugh by being bricked up in the wall of the church so as to be neither inside nor outside of it.
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Transporting Gerard
The knight Gerard was a man especially devoted to the worship of St. Thomas. Gerard would refuse nothing to anyone who came to his door and begged for a favor in that saint’s name. Despite Gerard’s holy ways, God gave the Devil permission to toy with Gerard. This might sound perverse on the part of the Almighty, but the Book of Job in the Bible tells a similar tale.
The Devil arrived at Gerard’s door in the form of a beggar and asked for a cloak in the name of St. Thomas. Gerard gave the man his own expensive cloak. The Devil and the cloak disappeared, leading Gerard’s wife to scold him for his stupidity in giving away a costly garment to a beggar.
Instead of making the knight give up his trust in his patron saint, Gerard simply trusted that everything would be fine. “Do not be disturbed, St. Thomas will certainly make good this loss to us,” said Gerard. The response of his long-suffering wife is not recorded.[4]
6
St. Benedict And The Thorn Bush
Photo credit: albertis-window.com
St. Benedict also was a rich young man who gave away the trappings of his former life for one of religious austerity. Benedict withdrew from Rome to a secluded cave. As with other attempts to escape the world, the Devil was not content to let Benedict escape his clutches.
The Devil’s first, somewhat baffling attempt was to visit Benedict in the form of a blackbird and flutter annoyingly close to his face. Benedict sent him flying with a benediction.[5]
The Devil’s next try was more subtle. He took the form of a beautiful lady to whom Benedict had long been attracted. The vision was so alluring that Benedict nearly left his cave to chase the delights of the flesh.
However, he saved his soul when he flung himself into a patch of thorn bushes and rolled around to mortify his flesh. This seems to have worked even better than a cold shower, and Benedict went on to become the father of Western Monasticism.
5
St. Catherine Of Siena
Photo credit: artyzm.com
St. Catherine is recognized by Catholics as one of the Doctors of the Church—saints important to the formation of the theology of the Catholic Church. To reach this position, she first had to marry Christ and battle her way past the Devil. Catherine formed her marriage with Christ to avoid the suitors that her family was preparing for her.
The Devil was not content to let Catherine have an easy ride to sainthood. He overwhelmed her with disgusting images and carnal hallucinations which lasted for days. During this time, she could not communicate with God. Eventually, the visions were dispelled by Catherine’s prayers.
Her experiences with visions led her to dictate dialogues she had with God while in states of ecstasy. In one, God explained to her why he allows the Devil to tempt humans. “I have set him in this life to tempt and molest My creatures, not for My creatures to be conquered, but that they may conquer, proving their virtue, and receive from Me the glory of victory.”[6]
This idea is presumably cold comfort for those sinners roasting eternally in hell.
4
The Devil And The Painter Monk
Photo credit: traditioninaction.org
Medieval churches were often richly decorated with paintings to help those who could not understand Latin to follow the service. A common motif was a “Doom painting”—one showing the Last Judgment with the suffering of sinners in hell. One medieval story shows just what the Devil thought of most of his depictions.
A man who had made his living as a sculptorand painter joined the abbey at Auxerre in France. A bare patch of wall had been left on the building because the abbey had no monks skilled enough to fill it.
Quickly, this new monk set to work creating images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. He also depicted the delights of paradise. Each of these he made as glorious as his skill would allow.
Then he turned to his depiction of hell as a warning to the impious. Here, he painted a Devil as ugly as his imagination dared create. The Devil was stung by this assault on his pride and appeared to the monk. He suggested that the monk had spoiled all his previous work by adding something so ugly to it. Why not paint the Devil as a handsome young man?[7]
But the monk was happy that his Devil was so hideous. The Devil became angry, revealed himself, and knocked the monk from the ladder on which he was standing. Only the intervention of the Virgin saved the monk.
3
St. Wolfgang And The Devil’s Church
Photo credit: crisismagazine.com
St. Wolfgang decided to build a church. To determine where to construct it, he climbed a mountain, threw an axe, and watched where it landed. Town planning was a much more exciting activity in the past. Once he reached the spot where the axe was, he decided he needed a little help with the construction.
The Devil appeared to St. Wolfgang and offered his assistance. The price: The Devil would get to claim the soul of the first living thing that entered the church he helped build. Wolfgang agreed.
Although the church looked beautiful, locals were able to tell that it had been made by the Devil because none of the lines were regular or matching. The Devil held Wolfgang to his bargain.[8]
Wolfgang began to fear the price to which he had agreed. Just then, a wolf chased by hunters ran toward the church. Wolfgang threw open the door, and the wolf raced in. Wolfgang pointed to the wolf and told the Devil to take the soul of the first living thing to enter the church.
2
Bridge Building
Wolfgang’s tricky use of sticking to the letter of a deal is a common one in stories about bargains with the Devil. Other tales also have the Devil building something. All across Europe can be found bridges that are said to have been made by the Devil.
Many of the Devil bridges have stories of animal trickery associated with them. The legend will go something like this. Locals need a bridge to cross a dangerous river or gorge but find it is beyond them. They summon the Devil to ask for help.
He agrees—for the price of the soul of the first thing to cross it. The locals accept, and the Devil makes a bridge. They then drive an animal (dog, goat, or chicken—doesn’t seem to matter) across, and the Devil leaves without his intended prize.[9]
There are variations, however. In some tales, the Devil wants the architect’s soul. When he is tricked out of that, he refuses to allow the bridge to be completed. One block is always missing, and the Devil will steal any block that is put in its place.
1
St. Dunstan
Photo credit: spookyisles.com
St. Dunstan was an adviser to one of England’s Anglo-Saxon kings but found himself accused of witchcraft and banished from court. He took up the holy life of a hermit, supporting himself by playing the harp and working as a blacksmith. As ever, the Devil was not going to allow someone to live a simple, sacred life.
One day while Dunstan was working in his smithy, the Devil took the form of a young woman and danced to tempt Dunstan to sin. He ignored the intruder and continued with his work. The Devil’s dance became wilder, and his skirts lifted as he twirled, revealing the hooves beneath.
Dunstan grasped the Devil’s nose with the red-hot tongs from his forge and drove him out. Dunstan forced the Devil to promise never to trouble him again by hammering horseshoes into the Devil’s hooves.
The red, sulfurous water of the spring at Tunbridge Wells is supposed to have been spoiled by the Devil quenching his burned nose in it.[10]

10 Of The Most Interesting Ancient Foods

The noblest of all human pursuits.
From ancient emperors to the fast-food restaurants of modern America, the enjoyment of food has always been an integral part of our lives. Despite their troubles, our ancestors still found the time to turn the items around them into delectable delights.
Here are 10 of the most interesting ancient foods, including one that could kill you if you’re one of the rare people whose body lacks a particular enzyme.
10
Maccu
Photo credit: alchetron.com
What might be Hannibal Lecter’s favorite meal on this list, maccu is an ancient Roman dish made primarily from crushed fava beans. Initially created on the island of Sicily, this particular dish spread once the Sicilians were integrated into the Roman Empire. Widely known as some of the best cooks in the Roman Empire, the island dwellers were introduced to the bean sometime in the distant past, though the exact date is unknown.
As for the preparation, the fava beans were boiled with any number of herbs and spices. Olive oil was added to the mixture, and it was eaten as a soup.[1] Leftovers could be poured out, left to harden, and then eaten as a snack. (Sometimes, they would be cut up, floured, and fried before being eaten again.) Though a rarity in today’s Sicily, some restaurants carry the foodstuff as peasant food, meant to play on our nostalgia for ages past.
However, fava beans can cause illness and even death in some people who lack the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. Certain people without this enzyme cannot process the toxins in fava beans, so their red blood cells are destroyed by these toxins. This rare hereditary condition occurs more often in the Mediterranean than in the US.
9
Moretum
Photo credit: Bullenwachter
Staying in ancient Rome, moretum was a kind of cheese spread that Roman peasants used on the various breads which they ate. The great poet Virgil, more widely known for the epic Aeneid, compiled a collection of poetry called Appendix Vergiliana. (Ancient sources believed that Virgil was the author of most of them, but it’s more likely that he merely assembled those written by others.)
One of the poems discusses the foodstuff, and it is eponymously named “Moretum.”[2] In the poem, the peasant collected ingredients from his land (garlic, herbs, and butter) and then produced the meal, all while talking and singing to his slave.
There was also a widely eaten variant involving pine nuts which is remarkably similar to modern-day pesto. As for the name, since all the ingredients needed to be crushed together in a mortar, it only made sense to name it after that.
8
Shrikhand
Photo credit: Secretlondon
Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word for “milk” (ksheer) and the Persian word for “sweet” (qand), shrikhand is a dessert made from fermented milk. The exact origins are lost to history, but tradition says it arose in ancient western India.
Traveling herdsmen were said to have hung either curd or yogurt overnight, thickening it in the process.[3] Later versions of shrikhandcontained various other ingredients, including sugar, spices, and nuts.
Most commonly found in India today, shrikhand is served as a breakfast dish in the North. In the South, they’ve kept its tradition as a dessert. As for the actual creation process, milk is heated and then cooled to room temperature, with a culture being introduced to make a firm curd. The resulting curd is strained to remove the whey and then mixed with the desired additional ingredients.
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Tamales
An extremely traditional Mesoamerican foodstuff, tamales have been cooked since at least 1500 BC. Some evidence actually points to as long ago as 8000 BC.
The word itself is derived from the Nahuatl word for “wrapped food” (tamalii), and the correct singular form is tamal. (In English, it’s commonly spelled and pronounced “tamale.”) Tradition holds that the Maya would make their cornmeal delights both filled and unfilled, with the fillings ranging from fish to beans to eggs.[4]
Aztec tamales were quite similar, with some of their descriptions coming from Bernardino de Sahagun, a Spanish priest who wrote about his experiences in the New World shortly after the Aztecs were conquered. (They also had “dessert” tamales, which were filled with fruit or honey.)
Tamales, especially those made of ground amaranth, also took on a religious connotation due in part to their use as offerings to various gods. As a result, the Catholic Church banned tamales and amaranth. Execution was the likely punishment for those caught making this food.
As for the tamales’ wrapping, which serves to help the steaming process, corn husks are the most widely used. However, banana leaves are more common in tropical areas.
6
‘Black Soup’
Photo credit: setti.info
Leave it to the Spartans of ancient Greece to have one of the most reviled foodstuffs in history. “Black soup” (melas zomos) was a traditional soup or broth eaten by soldiers in the army. Adding to their legacy of caring for nothing but warfare, it was only eaten for sustenance, though some say the Spartans enjoyed the soup. Made from boiled pigs’ blood, pork, and vinegar, black soup was infamous even in its own time.
Supposedly, one Italian who tasted it said that he finally understood why Spartans were so willing to sacrifice their lives in battle if black soup was all they had to eat. Another tale has a king of Pontus who wanted to try the soup. He had a Spartan chef prepare it for him, and with the first spoonful barely in his mouth, he was disgusted.[5] The chef’s response was that the king should have first bathed in a Spartan river, implying that one had to be Spartan to enjoy it.
Unfortunately, or perhaps not, there is no specific recipe surviving to this day. (However, various blood soups are still enjoyed throughout the world.)
5
Acquacotta
Photo credit: Giorgio Minguzzi
Acquacotta, another peasant’s dish, originally came from western coastal Italy in an area known as the Maremma. Literally translated as “cooked water,” this particular foodstuff is a relatively simple soup. Farmers and other laborers often just gathered whatever wild herbs and vegetables they could find.[6]Unsalted bread, often stale, was then added to the soup to soften the bread and make it edible.
The more prosperous proponents of acquacotta would top it all off with an egg, poached by the heat of the soup. Legends abound about the initial creation of the dish, with some bearing a striking resemblance to the legendary creation of stone soup. In one of many versions, a poor person convinces others to add ingredients to his pot, which began with nothing but water and a stone inside it. Eventually, a delicious soup was created and everyone enjoyed themselves.
4
Tharida
Photo credit: Miansari66
Tharida (aka tharid) is an Arab soup dating as far back as the time of Muhammad. Created by a group known as the Ghassanids, this dish combines stewed meat with broth and bread crumbs. Traditional tharida has the bread crumbled by hand.
Although the Ghassanids are Arab, they remained Christians until their kingdom was finally annexed. However, tharida’s allure transcended those bounds, becoming increasingly popular among Muslim Arabs.
Muhammad compared the dish to his favorite wife, Aisha, by saying that tharida surpassed all other dishes, much like Aisha surpassed all other women.[7] Thanks in no small part to his love of tharida, it was one of the few traditional Arab foods which spread far across the world. Variants could be found from Morocco to China.
Each new culture added their own unique flavor, and today, there are hundreds of versions of tharida. (Moorish Spain used eggplants in their form of tharida.)
3
Cantal Cheese
Dating all the way back to the rule of the Gauls, Cantal cheese is one of the oldest cheeses in the history of France. A semihard cheese, this particular type is often referred to as fourme by locals, a name which was used by Gregory of Tours, the famed historian of France. In his depiction of an ancient pagan religious rite, various offerings were thrown into a specific mountain lake, with cheese being one of the items tossed into the water.
The Roman author Pliny the Elder also wrote about the cheese in the first century AD.[8]Much to the woe of Roman cheesemakers, Pliny said that the best cheese came from Nimes, a city in southern France.
Relatively unchanged through the centuries that followed its creation, Cantal cheese rose to prominence during the reign of Louis XIV of France. Today’s Cantal cheese is sold much younger than it traditionally was, often with much less salt as well.
2
Papadzules
Photo credit: 307rivieramaya.com
A pre-Columbian enchilada of sorts, papadzules is a traditional dish from the Yucatan Peninsula. Traditionally made by the Maya, the dish consists of tortillas, preferably corn, dipped in a sauce made from pumpkin seeds. (Other varieties of squash may be used instead.) Chopped hard-boiled eggs are placed in the tortilla, and it is wrapped shut and drenched in a tomato sauce.
The papadzules of today have droplets of squash or pumpkin oil all over the surface. Controversy abounds as to whether the Mayacould have produced the same effect without more advanced technology. (They were likely capable of producing different kinds of oil which they may have used instead.)
As for the name, the story goes that it meant “food for the lords” and the papadzules were fed to the Spanish conquistadors who encountered the Maya. (Other sources say the name is derived from the Mayan words for “food” and “love.”)[9]
1
Harissa
Photo credit: Ketone16
Not to be confused with the Tunisian hot sauce of the same name, harissa is a traditional Armenian dish. A ritual dish popular during festivals and on other religious days, it is a thick porridge made from wheat and chicken or lamb.
During fasts which require giving up meat, herbs are used in place of meat. Harissa can be difficult to prepare as it is cooked over a low heat and requires constant stirring for a long period of time. However, part of its cherished value in Armenian culture comes from the time spent.
The name of the dish is legendarily said to have come from Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia. A meal of sheep was being prepared, and it wasn’t going to be enough to feed everyone. Saint Gregory had some wheat added to the pot. When he noticed it was sticking, he proclaimed, “Harekh!” (“Stir it!”)[10]
For a long time afterward, harissa was a traditional meal given to the poor by Armenian churches.